Pubdate: Sat, 01 Jul 2000
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Los Angeles Times
Contact:  Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053
Fax: (213) 237-4712
Author: Jaimee Rose, Times Staff Writer


Libertarian Vice Presidential Hopeful Treats Cancer With Marijuana--and 
Awaits Trial On Drug Charges.

Laguna Beach resident Steve Kubby is running for a spot in the White House, 
while the government is trying to find him a spot in jail.

Kubby is seeking the vice presidential nomination at the Libertarian Party 
national convention in Anaheim this weekend, and authorities in Placer 
County are prosecuting him for alleged possession of marijuana with the 
intent to sell.

Kubby has adrenal cancer and maintains that marijuana is keeping him alive. 
He says he takes the drug on the advice of a doctor.

However, Placer County officials say he was growing more than enough for 
medicinal purposes when they arrested him and his wife in January 1999, and 
that they'll prove it during the Aug. 15 trial.

Meanwhile, Kubby, dressed in a suit, was racing around the Anaheim Marriott 
hotel Friday with his political posse in tow, shaking hands and talking 
ideology on the radio. He's celebrating a cornerstone of American law: 
"innocent until proved guilty."

Even his prosecutors can't complain.

"It's a free country," says Christopher Cattran, Placer County deputy 
district attorney. "It's America. He's entitled to do it."

Still, Kubby, 53, is up against a pile of can'ts.

He can't, for example, campaign for office outside California. Medical 
marijuana is illegal outside the state, and he says doctors believe he 
can't go without treatment. He says he can't really take his medicine in 
public because it's hard to explain that the drug is his lifeline. He even 
carries his 3-inch joints in an old Vitamin E bottle.

And now that he's moved from his home in Placer County to Laguna Beach, he 
says he can't grow the drug anymore for fear of being arrested, even though 
he's using it as medicine. And since he's facing an expensive trial, he 
says he can't really afford to buy it.

However, these obstacles are making Kubby and his cause popular with the 
nearly 1,000 Libertarian delegates who descended upon Orange County on 
Friday for their annual convention. Members of a party struggling for a 
strong place in national politics, they say he's getting one of their pet 
issues in the news.

"One of [our] biggest issues is visibility," said John Turcotte, a delegate 
from Georgia. "[Kubby] is out in front of the public all the time; he's a 
well-known name."

Kubby ran for governor of California in 1998. He says he'll run again in 
two years if he doesn't make it to Washington. He was a big force in the 
1996 passage of Proposition 215, an initiative that allows use of medical 
marijuana in California.

He says he knows his campaign is gaining momentum from his legal problems.

"Nothing like some criminal indictments" to get attention, he said. "If you 
want to be on the front pages, you've got to be on the front lines."

Kubby announced his candidacy June 21, after the death of fellow 
Libertarian activist and friend Peter McWilliams. Kubby said McWilliams 
died because he was denied medical marijuana that could have saved him. 
There was talk of McWilliams going for the vice presidential nomination, 
and Kubby says he's running in tribute to McWilliams and his cause.

"I believe I will be the tail that wags the dog [and] bring discussion to 
these issues," he said. But, he added, "I don't expect to win."
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