Pubdate: Fri, 27 Oct 2000
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Auburn Journal
Contact:  1030 High St., Auburn, CA 95603
Author: Gus Thomson, staff writer
Bookmark: Steve Kubby items:
Note: The article consistently misspells "psilocyben" which should read "psylocybin".


The trial of Steve and Michele Kubby shifted from pot to magic mushrooms

A half-gram psilocyben mushroom stem was produced as evidence by the
prosecution, discovered Jan. 19, 1999, in a raid of the Kubby's Olympic
Valley home. The search led to the discovery of 265 marijuana plants in
various stages of growth -- the main emphasis in the criminal conspiracy
case against the couple.

But the discovery of the piece of mushroom stem led to a charge of
possession of psilocyben, a mind-altering substance found in what are
commonly called magic mushrooms.

John Schlim, an expert witness for the prosecution on psilocyben, testified
that a useable amount of the hallucinogen could be less than a gram, given
that street purchases usually weigh less than the announced weight. Schlim,
who has testified in more than 700 substance abuse cases over the past 30
years, was challenged on his use of the word "abuse" in referring to
psilocyben use by Steve Kubby defense attorney Tony Serra. Schlim said that
it's illegal to grow, sell or possess the mushrooms in California.

"If you ingest them in California, you're abusing them," he said.

Questioned during cross-examination on whether he thought magic mushrooms
were habit forming, Schlim answered in the affirmative. "I don't believe a
word of that," Serra remarked.

Serra then began to delve into the expert witness' perceptions of mushroom
users. Serra characterized them as cult-like, peaceful and idealistic,
consuming the mind-altering psilocyben for "spiritual or esthetic

"Would you agree?" he asked Schlim.

Schlim started out as an Oakland Police officer in the mid-1960s and now is
a partner in a Fremont substance-abuse firm that bills itself as a business
that provides "one-stop shopping for all your substance-abuse needs." He
testified that there may be people using psilocyben for spiritual reasons.
"But in general today, most of the people I treat and test are younger and
also involved in ecstasy, methamphetamine and cocaine," Schlim said. "Some
are very violent."

Schlim added that drug tests his business undertakes find a variety of
drugs in urine from people who participate in raves and others who follow
the now-defunct rock group, the Grateful Dead, including the date rape
drug. At times, Serra's questioning took on the tone of a lecture to the
jury on the lore of the magic mushroom, touching on its use as medicine in
Mexico and tracing it back to the time of Christ.

"You can talk about Shaman, the White Witch, it's still dope," Schlim said.
The Kubbys are on trial in Auburn's Placer County Superior Court for
possession for sale and cultivation of marijuana, as well as conspiracy and
psilocyben possession. The Libertarian gubernatorial candidate in 1998,
Steven Kubby contends the pot was grown for his own consumption under
Proposition 215. He suffers from a rare form of cancer. Michele Kubby has
used marijuana to help with an irritable bowel ailment.
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