The Steve McWilliams Truth in Trials Act would allow individuals accused of violating federal marijuana laws to introduce evidence in federal court that they followed state law for the purpose of alleviating suffering. Defendants could be found not guilty if the jury finds that they followed state medical marijuana laws. At present, medical marijuana patients are barred from telling federal jurors that their use of marijuana was for medical purposes, even when state laws explicitly permit medical use.
The bill is named for San Diego medical marijuana patient and activist Steve McWilliams, who used marijuana to relieve the severe pain he suffered from a series of auto accidents. Facing federal prosecution for growing 25 marijuana plants in his yard, forbidden from mounting a medical-necessity defense, and unable to use the one medicine that eased his suffering for fear of being jailed, McWilliams committed suicide on July 12.
“By providing an affirmative defense for medical marijuana patients, my legislation provides a reasonable way to accommodate contradictory federal and state laws on a very important medical matter,” said Rep. Farr. “I am offering a compassionate, common sense solution and I hope my colleagues in Congress will put aside their preconceptions and give it fair consideration.”