The Libertarian

Vin Suprynowicz
Website: Liberty Book Shop
Steve Kubby, 59, the 1998 Libertarian candidate for governor of California, was a leading force behind the passage of the 1996 referendum which legalized medical marijuana there. But it was AFTER voters approved Proposition 215 that California police broke into Kubby’s Lake Tahoe home, busting him and his wife Michele for growing what they contended was “too much” marijuana.

(Kubby asked them not to frighten his young daughter by breaking into his home with guns drawn -- saying he’d gladly show them his marijuana plants at any time. He tells me he sent this message to police by placing a note in his trash can, knowing the cops were going so far as to routinely rifle his trash is search of “evidence” of his “crime.” Police duly introduced the note at his trial.)

After Kubby -- a long-time survivor of a cancer of the adrenal gland that doctors say should have killed him years ago -- explained why he needed to maintain more than 200 plants in various stages of growth at his Lake Tahoe home to successfully breed the strains which keep his adrenalin levels below toxic levels, his California jury in 2001 acquitted the Kubbys -- on a vote of 11-1 -- on all five charges relating to their marijuana cultivation. They did, however, convict Kubby on a minor related charge after police found a dried-up hallucinogenic mushroom stem or cactus button (police were never sure which) in a drawer in a guest bedroom of the house.

The Kubbys say they don’t know whether the dried-out vegetable fragments were left behind by house guests or planted by police, who apparently changed the identification and labeling of the exhibit several times.

Kubby’s jury was purposely screened to eliminate Libertarians, pot users, or those in favor of re-legalization, violating the vital safeguard of the randomly selected jury.

Then, needless to say, rather than instructing the jurors of their irreversible power to decide that this law and its application were wacky, the trial judge told them they had no choice but to enforce the law.

A cancer survivor who has received medical advice that he could die if incarcerated as long as four days without his quasi-legal medication, Kubby fled to Canada rather than submit to a court-ordered 117-day California jail sentence on the dried-up vegetable charge.

Former California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, whom Kubby describes as having been “made to look ridiculous” in a 1998 debate with the Libertarian candidate, apparently took on the Kubby case as a personal vendetta, labeling Kubby a “fugitive” and successfully lobbying Canadian authorities to send him back to “face his punishment” -- which Kubby’s wife Michele and at least one physician involved in the case believe may prove a death sentence.

(Placed in isolation without adequate blankets in the chilly Placer County jail in the foothills of the Sierras, Kubby won’t be allowed to use the medical marijuana which has kept him alive for years -- even though Canadian authorities scoffed at the notion that returning to America could endanger Kubby’s health.)

Steve Kubby was deported from Canada on Jan. 26, arrested immediately upon the arrival of his plane at San Francisco International Airport that night, and transported back to Auburn, Ca.

On Feb. 15, the court was informed San Francisco defense attorney J. David Nick has agreed to represent Kubby, who has asked to be re-sentenced as a felon by Judge John L. Cosgrove, the original trial judge. A felony sentencing hearing will provide Kubby with certain rights not available to him under misdemeanor sentencing rules.

At a re-sentencing hearing scheduled for March 3, attorney Nick is expected to argue that Kubby should be sentenced to probation.

Michele Kubby has expressed her gratitude to Dr. Tod Mikuriya, her husband’s physician in California, who has written a prescription for Marinol, a synthetic form of one of the active alkaloids in marijuana -- THC.

Mrs. Kubby adds, “Dr. Mikuriya is also under attack, as is anyone involved with marijuana. Currently he is facing persecution by the Medical Board of California for bravely recommending cannabis to a wide variety of patients. He is facing a fine of over $75,000 for his brave stand. Without Dr. Mikuriya’s support, Steve would not be alive today. He made sure that Steve had Marinol when he checked into the Placer County jail having a hypertensive blood pressure attack.”

Jail authorities refuse to pay for Kubby’s Marinol -- he only receives such supplies as his family can afford to buy for him.

On their Web site, www.kubby.com, Michele Kubby reports that between Jan. 26 and Feb. 20 Steve "has lost 25 pounds and has had blood pressure problems due to the poor diet he is being fed. He also has had shingles for three weeks, indicating that his immune system is failing.

“The jail feeds the inmates with the lowest quality, most processed food available. They do not believe this is affecting Steve’s health, but his weight loss is getting quite dramatic. I am personally very concerned that he will not make it through this situation specifically because of the diet he is being fed.

“We are gathering information about the importance of diet and cancer because we are hoping to educate the jail about the danger they are putting Steve in with their poor food quality. So far, the jail has been very stubborn about offering Steve food that will nourish his body’s particular needs.

“I am so angry at this poor treatment of Steve. ... So far, they won’t even let us give him food. This is quite odd, because the jail has a deal with McDonald’s to provide food from the outside.

“This is such a sick situation. I hope that it all ends up OK. The girls and I have so many wonderful plans for our future together as a family. I pray we can see them come to fruition.”

“When we first went to court, we were confident that The Compassionate Use Act (Prop 215) and the Bill of Rights protected us,” Michele told me last year. “To our horror we found that the law we helped pass in 1996 didn’t matter. ...

“The reality is that everything they taught us about our rights in their government schools is a lie. The Democratic system of checks and balances, so nicely outlined on the blackboard, no longer exists. Even the people’s right to throw out bad laws handed down by the Legislature has been officially outlawed by the California Supreme Court.

“Welcome to the Drug War, where ... police can invade your home ... peek through your windows, go through your garbage, and even listen through your walls. Before you know it, you’ll be facing a jury where Libertarians and people who used marijuana or advocate its re-legalization are banned” -- a precise description of the jury that tried Steve Kubby, of course.

Donations to the Kubby Defense Fund can be addressed to 1135 Terminal Way, Suite 106, Reno, NV 89502.