Pubdate: Sat, 03 Feb 2001
Source: Marin Independent Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Marin Independent Journal
Contact:  150 Alameda del Prado, Novato, CA 94949
Author: Richard Halstead
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Encouraged by their success in Marin, medical marijuana supporters are 
threatening recall efforts against district attorneys in four other 
California counties.

The American Medical Marijuana Association, an advocacy group supporting 
the legalization of medical marijuana nationwide, is contemplating recall 
efforts in Sonoma, Placer, Shasta and El Dorado counties, said Steve Kubby, 
the association's founder and national director.

Lynnette Shaw, who spearheaded the effort to recall Marin District Attorney 
Paula Kamena, is the association's director for Marin. It's estimated the 
special election set for May 22 will cost the county $500,000.

"They've been very supportive of our effort here," said Shaw, the founding 
director of Fairfax's Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana. Association 
members helped gather the 13,942 valid signatures that forced the recall, 
she said. "I had people come in from all over to help."

"Strategically we were involved. Rev. Lynnette Shaw and I worked together 
on the (Proposition) 215 campaign so we confer with each other. But the 
work was done by Marin residents, not our folks," Kubby said.

Shaw said association members also helped raise money. She, however, would 
provide no details on exactly where the $15,000 in contributions that are 
funding the recall came from. She has insisted that the law allows her to 
withhold that information, although the state's Fair Political Practices 
Commission disagrees.

Kubby, who ran as the Libertarian candidate for governor in 1998, has 
firsthand experience dealing with Placer county's district attorney.

Kubby, who credits marijuana for allowing him to survive adrenal cancer, 
and his wife were prosecuted on charges of cultivating and possessing 
marijuana following a raid on their Olympic Valley home on Jan. 19, 1999.

Placer County Deputy District Attorney Chris Cattran said police 
confiscated 265 plants, 107 of which were mature, and a small amount of 
peyote and psilocybin.

A jury deadlocked 11-1 on the marijuana charges and prosecutors haven't 
decided if they will seek a retrial, Cattran said.

The Kubbys' defense attorney was Marin's renowned Tony Serra.

Steve Kubby was convicted on two felony charges for possessing the peyote 
and psilocybin and could face a maximum penalty of up to three years and 
eight months in prison, Cattran said.

Kubby said he worked on Proposition 215 and Proposition 36, which mandated 
treatment instead of jail for non-violent drug offenders. He says he 
supports himself primarily as a fund-raiser.

The association sees recall actions as a means of convincing local district 
attorneys to comply with Proposition 215, Kubby said.

"This isn't a vindictive thing on the part of patients. It's a matter of 
economics," Kubby said.

Rather than continue to mount costly legal defenses - Kubby says he has 
spent $300,000 so far on his family's defense - "It makes more sense for 
patients to pool their expenses, hold a recall election, and show the 
citizens of the county what is really going on," Kubby said.

So far, the association has not officially launched any recall effort, said 
Jay Cavanaugh of Los Angeles, who is heading up a recall committee.

The association would much rather see the district attorneys in these 
counties implement more liberal prosecution guidelines - similar to the 7 
pounds of dried pot a year allowed to medical users in Oakland, Cavanaugh said.

Taxpayer groups in some of the counties are concerned about the mounting 
number of civil lawsuits being filed in connection with medical marijuana 
prosecutions and the possibility of class action suits in the future, 
Cavanaugh said.

Assistant District Attorney Edward Berberian said he only recently had 
learned of the threat of a recall in Sonoma county.

"We're not going to react to someone wanting to put some type of political 
pressure on us to make a decision on how we should apply the law," 
Berberian said.
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