By: Penne Usher, Journal Staff Writer
The topic of jailed medical marijuana activist Steve Kubby is gaining popularity on the Internet as he reports failing health and poor medical attention in Placer County Jail.
Placer county law-enforcement officials say they are treating Kubby humanely as they do all inmates.
Kubby, 58, has reportedly spoken with supporters since his Friday incarceration.
Fred Colburn, of Meadow Vista, has been friends with Kubby since the activist ran as the Libertarian candidate for governor on the 1997/1998 ballot. He said he spoke to Kubby early Monday morning.
"Steve's thinking they are deliberately punishing him (in jail)," Colburn said. "He's only had one blanket, is vomiting and can't keep food down."
Kubby, who fled Placer County to Canada to avoid incarceration in 2000 was arrested on a no-bail warrant Thursday and transferred to Placer County Jail Friday.
Kubby contends he must have marijuana daily in order to survive and stave off the affects of a rare form of adrenal cancer. He credits a Canadian doctor who agrees with him, but UC David cancer specialists said there is no scientific evidence to support Kubby's claim that marijuana is keeping him alive.
Dr. Fred Meyers, professor and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine for UC Davis Medical Center, has said there is no medical proof that smoking marijuana cures or alleviates the symptoms of the adrenal cancer that Kubby is said to have.
Kubby's Canadian doctor said cannabis alleviates the symptoms of Kubby's adrenal cancer.
"(Kubby's) kind of cancer, metastatic pheochromocytoma, releases adrenaline into the blood and these drugs speed up your heart making your body run faster," said Dr. Joe Connors, a medical oncologist for British Columbia Cancer Agency in a telephone interview Monday.
Connors said that too much adrenaline keeps Kubby's body in a constant state of "flight or fight."
"The marijuana he had been smoking helped," Connors said.
Despite reports posted on numerous Web sites and blogs about Kubby's physical condition, jail official's report that he appears to be doing well.
"He's been seen by the medical staff and he's being taken care of," Capt. John Fitzgerald, of the Placer County Sheriff's Department said Monday. "I can't elaborate because medical records are confidential."
Technorati.com, a Web site that reports it tracks 26.7 million sites and 1.9 billion links, lists Kubby as its most searched topic Monday above Ted Koppel and Ipod.
Many of the postings are duplicates of press releases posted on Kubby's own Website Kubby.com.
In one posting, Michele Kubby said she was able to get a prescription for the drug Marinol for her husband.
Marinol has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration to treat "nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy for patients who have failed to respond adequately to conventional treatments," according to the Marinol.com Web site.
"When Steve first entered the jail, his blood pressure had risen to 170 over120. The jail medical staff were concerned and administered the Marinol," Michele Kubby wrote in an e-mail. "Steve says he feels his blood pressure lowering, but he can tell that Marinol is not going to be effective in the long run."
E-mails and blogs report that Kubby is in "solitary confinement," and allowed only one blanket. Jail personnel say Kubby is separated from other inmates for his own safety.
"He's in N-tank in a private cell, not in the general population," Fitzgerald said. "He classifies to be in a private cell for numerous reasons including his safety."
Michele Kubby, who remains in Canada with the couple's two children, said she plans to be in California soon but will not make today's court appearance.
"I will not be able to make the hearing time on Tuesday. I hope anyone who goes tells him I am thinking of him and love him very much," Michele Kubby wrote in an e-mail sent to the Journal.
The Kubby family had been seeking to stay in Canada, however, the Canadian Border Services rejected the family's bid for protection Dec. 9 and ordered them out of the country.
Kubby fled to Canada with his family in an effort to avoid incarceration after a 2000 conviction in Placer County on charges of possession of mescaline and psilocybin.
He was transported to Placer County jail Friday afternoon and is scheduled to be arraigned at 1 p.m. in Dept. 13 of Placer County Superior court today.
Kubby will most likely have to serve his custody time of 120 days and address his probation violation, which could give him additional time behind bars.
He was also one of the authors of Prop. 215, the compassionate-use act passed by the voters of the state of California in 1996.
The Journal's Penne Usher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.