CityBeat was deeply saddened Tuesday morning to learn that Steve McWilliams, a long-time San Diego medical-marijuana activist, had died earlier that day. Friends said it was suicide.
McWilliams, who had to cease using medical marijuana after a 2002 arrest, suffered from chronic pain and was likely facing prison time after being charged by federal prosecutors three years ago with possessing 25 marijuana plants. A Supreme Court ruling handed down last month said that federal law prohibiting medicinal use of marijuana trumps California's voter-approved Compassionate Use Act.CityBeat has been a supporter of McWilliams and his cause since the paper began three years ago. He was an activist in the best sense of the word, encouraging medicinal-pot users to stick to city guidelines and state law and form cooperatives so that the most ill folks would have a community to support them. More than that, he was a genuinely kind-hearted person, and we will miss him very much.