Pubdate: Mon, 01 May 2000
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 2000 The Orange County Register
Contact:  P.O. Box 11626, Santa Ana, CA 92711
Fax: (714) 565-3657


The trial of former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate and cancer patient
Steve Kubby and his wife Michele on numerous counts of marijuana sales and
conspiracy is slated to begin today at the Placer County Courthouse in
Auburn, just east of Sacramento. The Kubbys were arrested after a long
surveillance on Jan. 19, 1999 in the house they rented near Lake Tahoe, and
more than 200 marijuana plants were seized.

The Kubbys, both of whom are medical marijuana patients with a physician's
recommendation, published an online winter sports magazine.

They were forced into bankruptcy by the seizures (their computers still
haven't been returned) and moved for a while to Orange County.

The trial takes place amidst numerous developments on the medical marijuana
issue. The Hawaii legislature passed and the governor signed a medical
marijuana law last week. Santa Cruz passed new ordinances implementing
medical marijuana policies a few weeks ago. Mendocino County voters will
vote on a local initiative (advisory only) to decriminalize both medical and
recreational marijuana use.

While preparing their defense - they will be represented by famed San
Francisco defense attorney Tony Serra and top Prop. 215 lawyer Eric Berg -
the Kubbys also formed the American Medical Marijuana Association to develop
standards and codes of conduct for patients and doctors. They have filed
numerous complaints against Placer County and state officials for failing to
properly implement Prop. 215, the medical marijuana initiative passed by
California voters in 1996.

Jury selection is slated to take place this week, with opening arguments
tentatively set for May 5. The prosecution says  it will take about a month
to present its case, while the defense expects its rebuttal, which could
feature activists such as Dennis Peron and Jeff Jones of the Oakland
cannabis club as witnesses, to take two weeks.

The trial's beginning could be delayed by a series of defense motions
challenging various aspects of the prosecution's case, from the sufficiency
of the warrant used to justify the raid to the legality of the surveillance
that preceded it. If any of these motions weaken the prosecution's ability
to present a convincing case, the case just might end rather quickly.
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