Pubdate: Wed, 06 Sep 2000
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Auburn Journal
Contact:  1030 High St., Auburn, CA 95603
Author: Jessica R. Towhey, Journal Staff Writer
Newshawk Note:  This story also ran prominently on KCRA TV, the largest 
station in Northern California, KOVR TV and Fox News.


D.A. Says They Were Growing The 265 Plants For Profit

A high-profile marijuana trial began in earnest Wednesday morning as 
opening arguments painted the case facing a former gubernatorial candidate 
and his wife as either a for-possession drug matter or political 
persecution. Michele and Steven Kubby, the 1998 Libertarian candidate for 
governor, face a combined 19 counts of illegal drug possession, cultivation 
of marijuana for sale and possession of paraphernalia. The Kubbys were 
arrested Jan. 19, 1999 at their Olympic Valley home in Squaw Valley 
following a six-month investigation by the North Lake Tahoe Narcotics Task 

In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney explained how the task 
force, a joint endeavor of several law enforcement agencies, came to 
suspect the Kubbys of cultivating marijuana for sale.

"Recreational drugs and drug dealing AD that's what this case is about," 
he said.

According to Cattran, an anonymous letter initiated the investigation that 
included searches of the Kubbys' garbage and nighttime surveillance. It 
ended with their arrest, and the seizure of 265 plants, computer hardware 
that revealed accounting records showing an influx of $103,000 into 
personal bank accounts and accounting memos indicating San Francisco and 
Oakland accounts for the money.

Cattran, who spoke for about 20 minutes, described for the 12 jurors and 
five alternates the elaborate grow operation the Kubbys had in place that 
included a main room with 107 flowering plants whose height reached between 
3 feet and 4 feet.

But defense attorney J. David Nick, who represents Michele Kubby, said the 
grow operation had to be sophisticated since perfect conditions of 
temperature, humidity and light are required to grow marijuana.

Additionally, Nick said Kubby, who smokes nearly 12 pounds of marijuana a 
year, wound up throwing away roughly 80 percent of the crop since only the 
female plants produce buds, which are required for use.

In touching upon the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which Cattran referred 
to as a "good law in some circumstances," the prosecutor stated the Kubbys 
overstepped the bounds of the law by how much marijuana they cultivated. 
But Nick, in disputing the prosecution's case, said the illicit drugs 
seized act as a lifeline for Steven Kubby. During his one-hour-and-fifteen 
minute opening statement, Placer County Superior Court Judge John L. 
Cosgrove sustained seven of nine objections made by Cattran, who said Nick 
was presenting arguments.

"We believe this case is an attempt to punish Mr. Kubby for his political 
activity," Nick said.

Kubby, suffers from a rare form of adrenal cancer, was instrumental in the 
success of the Compassionate Use Act. He called Kubby as "messiah" for 
medical marijuana patients who feel they are threatened and under attack by 
law enforcement.

Furthermore, Nick called the narcotics task force investigation into 
question since officers never used a confidential information to attempt a 
drug purchase from the Kubbys. Confidential informants are often used in 
such cases, he said.

The trial continues at 9:30 a.m. today in Department 10 at the DeWitt 
Center. After today, however, court will recess until October due to 
vacations scheduled beforehand.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens