It was reading Peter’s book, Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in a Free Society, that spurred my interest in him. I had many pleasant email exchanges with Peter before he was dogged-to-death by reactionary US drug policies. When my kids ask me, “What did you do in the war daddy?” my support of Peter is always a source of pride for me. By the looks of things these days, we’re winning Peter’s war (Yo Colorado, Whazzup’ California!!), but there are still many battles to go.
Peter McWilliams ultimately died of AIDS, choking on his own vomit because the US government denied his use of marijuana to treat the nausea induced by the plethora of legal medications necessary to treat his health.
Richard Cowan and many critics of the U. S. drug policies have described his death as murder by the U. S. government, insofar as they denied him the use of the medical marijuana which might have prevented his death. At least one account suggests that he choked on his own vomit because of the nausea.
Shortly after his death:
At the National Libertarian Party convention — where presidential candidate Harry Browne came out firmly for decriminalization of marijuana — Peter McWilliams became the posthumous winner of their Champion of Liberty Award. Peter will be missed. He was the victim of a political assassination, but his inspiring legacy continues to live on.
Here is Peter speaking at the Libertarian Party convention in 1998: