Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2000
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2000 The Sacramento Bee
Contact:  P.O.Box 15779, Sacramento CA 95852
Author: Wayne Wilson, Bee Staff Writer


Jurors at the medical-marijuana trial of Steve and Michele Kubby were told
Thursday they will be making a "profound and meaningful" decision when they
return their verdict.

"This is a case that has a place in history," declared J. Tony Serra, an
attorney representing the former Libertarian candidate for governor charged
with growing pot for sale at his Squaw Valley home. "It has meaning beyond
the four walls of this court."

Argument in the closely-watched trial was concluded Thursday and the jury is
expected to begin deliberations at 9 this morning.

Serra characterized the prosecution of the Kubbys as a "microcosmic test" of
the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, the law that permits the cultivation and
use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Law enforcement saw Kubby, an activist and promoter who became the "symbol
of medical marijuana" in the campaign for the initiative's passage, as a
"big trophy," the defense argued.

But prosecutor Christopher M. Cattran said the Kubbys were simply hiding
behind the act "for profit, to sell marijuana." Cattran urged the panel of
nine women and three men to "look at the math" when deciding if the 265
plants seized during a January 1999 raid at the Kubbys' residence were being
grown for sale.

Quoting his experts' testimony that each plant would yield four ounces of
pot, Cattran computed that the Kubbys could expect to harvest enough
marijuana to last them for more than three years.

"You have a commercial operation here . . . That's what you have," Cattran

Defense counsel challenged the legitimacy of the prosecution's "experts,"
suggesting they are nothing more than "30-year narcs . . . who specialize in
ripping up and burning" marijuana.

Their expertise was acquired by "getting together with a bunch of police
officers at a convention and voting on it," said J. David Nick, Michele
Kubby's counsel.

"Not one person the prosecution presented in this case had any scientific
background with respect to botany, with respect to collecting data," Nick

Defense experts based their estimate of a much smaller yield on a government
study, Nick said. And it was that study the Kubbys relied on in deciding how
much marijuana to grow, he pointed out.

Both Kubbys are charged with cultivation and possession of marijuana for
sale, two counts of conspiracy relating to those alleged crimes, and three
additional counts having to do with the discovery of minute quantities of
other controlled substances in their home.

It is the prosecution's theory that Kubby sold $103,000 worth of his
home-grown pot to the operators of two cannabis clubs in the Bay Area.

Kubby acknowledged receiving money from the clubs but said it was donated to
him over an 18-month period to help him carry the banner of seriously ill
Californians who look to marijuana as their "miracle drug."

In his closing argument, attorney Serra said the $103,000 Kubby received was
"chicken feed" in a campaign necessitated by law enforcement's refusal to
accept the passage of Proposition 215.

When the feds, who "don't respect the law," stepped in and closed the
cannabis clubs, patients felt that everything they'd worked so hard to
achieve "had been taken away from them," Serra explained.

They looked to Kubby as their spokesman, and "he provoked" law enforcement.
"He stuck his marijuana buds in their nose," Serra said.

Kubby testified, and his doctor of many years confirmed, that he uses
marijuana to control the effects of a rare form of deadly adrenal cancer.
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