Pubdate: Tue, 08 Apr 2003
Source: Canadian Press (Canada Wire)
Copyright: 2003 The Canadian Press (CP)
Author: Terri Theodore


VANCOUVER (CP) - An American man claiming refugee status in Canada said 
Tuesday he is being persecuted because of his medical marijuana use.

Steve Kubby told his refugee hearing he needs about 5.5 kilograms of 
marijuana a year to control symptoms of a rare adrenal cancer. The former 
California man has Health Canada permission to grow and use pot. Kubby said 
he would never get that permission in the United States. "I didn't want to 
live in a country that tells you what you can put in your mouth or what you 
can put in your medicine cabinet."

The U.S. federal government says medical marijuana use is a hoax and anyone 
who uses it should go to jail for a long time, he said.

Cancer specialists say Kubby's pot intake reduces his risk of a heart 
attack by controlling blood pressure spikes, rapid heart beats, headaches 
and chest pains caused by the over production of adrenaline.

Kubby told the hearing his greatest fear is having his two daughters taken 
away, a tactic he says U.S. prosecutors use against medical marijuana users.

Randy White, Alliance MP and solicitor general critic, said if the refugee 
claim is allowed there will be a flood of American pot users claiming the 
same status in Canada.

White said this isn't about a refugee claim but about the inequities 
between Canadian and American drug laws.

The hearing had been adjourned for a month while Kubby fought off pneumonia.

He appeared healthy and tanned Tuesday.

Kubby testified he believes he would be arrested immediately on a no-bail 
warrant if he went back to the United States.

"I would be held until I was transferred (to California), or until I die," 
he said.

"All my friends in the U.S. medical marijuana movement are being targeted."

At one point his wife Michele, who's helping him with his case, asked him 
how long he would survive in jail without his medication.

"I believe four days incarceration is my limit," Kubby said.

California's Proposition 215 allows for the medical use of marijuana.

But a witness who testified earlier on Kubby's behalf said there has been a 
concerted effort by federal and state law enforcement officials to 
undermine Proposition 215 since the day it was passed.

Patrick McCartney, a former journalist from Placer County, left his job at 
the Auburn Journal in 2001 to research a book about the rift between U.S. 
federal and state governments over medicinal use of marijuana laws.
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