AFTER 7 LONG YEARS - VICTORY AT
Steve Kubby accepts
at the 2006 NORML Conference in San Francisco
Updated May 19, 2006
I'm pleased to tell you that it has now been a six weeks since I was released
from the Placer County Jail, where I spent 23 hours a day in
lock-down, serving 62 days in "protective custody." My crime was
the possession of a mushroom stem, used as an exhibit in one of my
books and some tiny peyote buttons left by someone in our guest bedroom.
my first few days of incarceration,
experienced excruciating pain, a vicious high blood-pressure crisis,
passed blood in my urine and I lost 33 pounds. However, thanks to the
efforts of nearly a hundred demonstrators and massive media coverage,
the Placer County Jail staff became painfully aware of my situation and
acted decisively to make sure I had proper medical care. To
everyone's relief, we learned that Marinol is an acceptable, if not
cannabis in treating my otherwise fatal disease.
Now I am a free man and I am profoundly grateful to be alive and to
have friends and supporters such as you.
Everyone knows I
was in jail for an unjust conviction that followed a politically
inspired investigation of me in 1998 while I campaigned as the
Libertarian candidate for governor of California. Seven difficult years
later, I can finally declare our hard fought battle to be a victory and
that the mission of the Kubby Defense Fund has been successfully
I want to thank you
for helping me through the ordeal. I'd also like to thank the San
Francisco Board of Supervisors for passing a Resolution
on my behalf.
With your help, we
have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Thanks to the skillful
negotiating of attorney E.D. Lerman,
I spent a combined 62 days in jail
versus the year or more that prosecutors wanted me to serve. Despite
the new charge for going to Canada, I spent three weeks less in jail
than I would have in
2001, when the county did not have an early release for overcrowding.
landscape over medical marijuana has significantly changed in
California since my arrest. I'd like to put some of the events of my
case in perspective, as part of a final report from the Kubby Defense
When we started the
Kubby Defense Fund in 1999, we faced dire circumstances:
- $200,000 bail;
- Involvement by local, state and federal drug
- A fraudulent DEA document that was used to
obtain a search warrant;
- An anonymous note that we now believe was
written by law enforcement;
- Judges removed for bias re-entering the case to
make me a felony fugitive; and
- A public defender who abandoned our case,
leaving us stranded in Canada.
attitudes were outright hostile to medical marijuana at the time,
something I experienced first-hand once I was arrested on Jan. 19,
1999. For 72 hours I was deprived of the only medicine I use, and quickly
experienced the classic symptoms of hypertensive crises, as my
blood pressure periodically soared, leaving me partially blind and
medical care and solace, the jail authorities were openly derisive of
my condition, treating me like a criminal who was hiding behind the
medical-marijuana laws. It took me months to recover from that ordeal.
chose to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and fight back.
I chose to fight on behalf of the many qualified patients broken by
unfair prosecutions, who did not have the resources or resolve to face
next two years, we went through three juries and six judges, and built
a legal team and brought in expert witnesses that ultimately outclassed
the local prosecutors. During the trial, we
prosecution's key witness, a state narcotics officer who testified
about plant yields at medical-marijuana trials across the state, making
ordinary patients sound like drug kingpins.
may be an
inconvenience to some, but for me it is a life-threatening experience.
That's why I moved to Canada in 2001 rather than remain under the
supervision of authorities I had no reason to trust. My reasons go to
the unusual nature of my medical condition,
with its potentially lethal
episodes of high blood pressure.
courts denied our claims to refugee status, I was given the choice of
being deported or leaving Canada voluntarily. On January 26 I returned
from British Columbia to turn myself in, and served 40 days of the
120-day sentence imposed on me in 2001 for possession of a mushroom
stem and peyote buttons.
stay was for violating
probation by not returning from Canada sooner.
the seven years
since my previous stay in the Placer jail, moreover, I found that
law-enforcement attitudes about medical marijuana had changed. Gone was
the hostility and taunts that guards directed my way in 1999. This time
they called me "Mister Kubby," and treated me with respect.
Especially after all the demonstrations at the Jail on my behalf.
I was fortunate
also that Dr. Tod Mikuriya prescribed Marinol for me as an
and I was able to take the first dose at admission, just a single day
after my last medication with whole cannabis. We had no idea if it
would work, and it didn't - at first. But, to my lasting relief, over
the next few days my blood pressure began to fall to healthy levels.
10-milligram capsule of Marinol
twice a day was able to control my
blood pressure, although I did have problems with indigestion from
taking the synthetic THC. Unfortunately, Marinol was a Schedule 2 drug
when I was first arrested. Marinol was extremely hard to get until July
of 1999, and remains very expensive and prisoners are usually not
allowed to use it.
discovery was a fantastic turn of events for me, because guaranteeing a
stable supply of pot is expensive and dangerous. With Marinol as an
acceptable if not
ideal replacement for whole cannabis, I can now
supplement my use of medical marijuana with a prescription medicine
that is widely available. That will allow me to travel and work more
easily, and represents a new lease on life for me.
We now have
documented evidence from my jail medical records that Marinol can
control the blood-pressure spikes of adrenal cancer, and may benefit
others with blood-pressure disorders as well.
Certainly, no one
can say that I was sneaking blood-pressure medicine along with the
Marinol, since I was in jail and my medications strictly regulated.
Similarly, no one can accuse the jail's medical director of being
So, I think we
proved that marijuana really does lower my blood pressure, and I really
do have a life-and-death medical
might have stayed
in jail two-thirds longer, but I was released early after receiving a
personal visit from the Placer County Sheriff
Ed Bonner, who commended
me for my work on behalf of medical marijuana. Sheriff Bonner said law
enforcement had learned a lot about medical marijuana through the
course of my prosecution, and said he was honored to meet me.
Sheriff Bonner then
told me he would talk with the district attorney and presiding judge,
and advise them to "bury the hatchet."
My arrest at the
San Francisco airport and incarceration in Placer County created
Articles have appeared in the L.A. Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San
Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee and Fox News, and noted by CNN. In a
story carried by the Associated Press, I was described as a
"medical-marijuana champion," while a feature story on page one of
World Net Daily hailed me as a "crusader for medical marijuana."
KTVU TV in Oakland had the best video
On Jan. 30,
Technorati.com identified "Kubby" as the most-researched term on the
Internet, outpacing I-Pods and Ted Koppel.
All this media
attention represents millions of dollars of ink and TV time to educate
the public on our issues.
Let's list the
accomplishments that you have helped make possible with your support of
the Kubby Defense Fund.
- We raised and
spent nearly $500,000 for our defense;
- Successfully defended a 265-plant garden based
on limits for federal patients;
- Discredited the state?s expert witness on plant
yields and limits;
- Reduced law-enforcement opposition to statewide
- Gave hope to patient groups that supported our
- Forced Placer County authorities to soften
their medical-marijuana policy.
For seven years now, I have stood
up for the rights of sick people who benefit from the medicinal
properties of this healing herb. By speaking out, I incurred the wrath
of those in power who believe medical marijuana is a hoax, and that my
advocacy threatened their way of life.
seven years of bad luck have come to an end, because I have made peace
with the criminal-justice system that persecuted me. Although I still
face more than two years of minimal supervision before I am truly free,
for the first time in seven years, my family and I are looking forward
to resuming a normal life.
Now, finally, we can resume our peaceful lives where we left off.
We need to give our daughters the stability of living in the same place
for more then a year at a time. There is a very real possibility
that I will be publishing another magazine, and I'm hoping to enter the
speaking circuit and share our amazing story. I'm also exploring
other interesting possibilities for the future that I know many of you
will want to be part of.
I'd like to use this letter to give
a special thanks to the
most important person in my life. Michele, my dear wife Michele; she is
the hardest working, most loyal woman I know. She's done
everything from manage the Kubby Defense Fund, to representing me in
courts in multiple jurisdictions in two countries. She has done
so much more then simply stand by my side. She has fought
tirelessly for me and so many others.
Often the stress Michele
was living with was unimaginable - many times during this frequently
frightening journey our children could have been taken away from
us. She fought hard and long to keep our family together.
Michele is finally looking forward to living a stress-free life for the
first time in seven long years. Then she will consider going to
law school - she certainly has more real-world courtroom experience
then many practicing attorneys!
Of course, it goes
without saying that I am not abandoning the battle for freedom. When I
was fighting for my life, the focus was necessarily on the medical
marijuana issue, but now we can go on the offensive against the abuses
of our legal system by those who are supposed to uphold the rule of
law. More and more Americans, including
many in law enforcement are
recognizing that the so-called "drug war" is a counterproductive fraud
that is a threat to everyone.
That has always
been our message.
Let freedom grow,