Pubdate: Tue, 09 Dec 2003
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 The Province
Author: Adrienne Tanner, The Province
Bookmark: (Kubby, Steve)


Hours after losing his refugee claim, Steve Kubby, a medical-marijuana
crusader from California, seemed unbowed as he planned his Federal
Court appeal.

"I'm not willing to go back and have them kill me," said Kubby, who
smokes large quantities of marijuana to control symptoms of a rare
adrenal cancer.

Kubby fled the United States for the Sunshine Coast in 2001 to escape
a 120-day sentence for drug offences.

He filed a refugee claim arguing he would die in jail without access
to medical marijuana.

Kubby's example was quickly followed by two other American marijuana
activists, Steven Tuck and Ken Hayes, whose pot-related activities got
them in trouble with the law.

Their refugee hearings were held this year and decisions are expected
early in 2004.

In a 61-page decision yesterday, Immigration and Refugee Board
adjudicator Paulah Dauns discounted Kubby's assertions that returning
to serve his time in the U.S. would be tantamount to a death sentence.

"The medical evidence does not establish that he would (a) die if cut
off from marijuana, or (b) be denied appropriate medical care while in
a U.S. correctional facility . . .," she wrote.

Kubby did not prove he has a well-founded fear of persecution or
torture by the state, Dauns said.

"He is arguing he will be denied medication, not that he would be
tortured while incarcerated . . . This is simply not what was
envisioned when the Convention Against Torture was enacted."

She arrived at the same conclusion for Kubby's wife Michele, who uses
medical marijuana to ease the pain of irritable-bowel syndrome.

Yesterday's ruling was welcomed by MP Randy White, who railed against
refugee claims filed by Kubby and the other American medical marijuana
advocates. "It is an improper use of the refugee system," he said.

White said it is time to block what has become an "underground
railroad" for American drug fugitives.

He said he has spoken to police about a website which counsels medical
marijuana users to come to Canada and file for refugee status.

Richard Cowan, who runs an online marijuana newsletter, said he has
seen the website.

But, so far, only a handful of American medical marijuana users have
filed refugee claims in Canada and all for valid medical reasons, he

"You're not going to see large numbers of people fleeing up here . . .
even if the Kubbys had won." 
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