Pubdate: Fri, 25 Mar 2005
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Gerry Bellett
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Steve Kubby, Who Has Cancer, Is Appealing A Decision To Refuse Him And His 
Family Refugee Status

VANCOUVER - The wife of medical marijuana activist Steve Kubby told Federal 
Court Justice Sandra Simpson that returning her husband to the U.S. to 
serve a prison term would be a death sentence.

Represented by his wife, Michele, Kubby was in court Thursday appealing a 
2003 decision of the Immigration and Refugee Board that denied him and his 
family refugee status.

Kubby, 58, suffers from malignant pheochromocytoma, a rare adrenal cancer.

Outside court he said he has had the condition for 30 years.

"I was given six months to live. I've tried every cure including four major 
surgeries and it's only because of cannabis I've survived," he said 
standing with his wife and their children, Brooke, 9, and Crystal, 5.

"Cannabis has an unexplained ability to to sustain me. It lowers my blood 
pressure and controls the production of adrenalin," he said.

The family fled to Canada from California four years ago after he was 
charged with possession of peyote and a magic-mushroom stem.

He received a 120-day sentence which the court said he could serve at home 
because of his medical condition and is now considered to be a fugitive by 
the U.S. for failing to return and serve his sentence.

Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Paulah Dauns had dismissed 
Kubby's claims that he was a political refugee because of his opposition to 
U.S. federal laws that make marijuana a banned substance.

She also found that there was no evidence Kubby, who ran for governor of 
California in 1998 for the Libertarian Party, would be denied medical help 
in prison.

But Michele Kubby argued that her husband could be placed in a federal jail 
and federal jails -- unlike state prisons -- would not let him have the 
marijuana he needs to stay alive.

Kubby said the adjudicator erred in law by not fully examining how her 
husband would be treated by federal prison authorities.

She said federal authorities have sometimes laid federal drug charges 
against persons who have received state permission to possess marijuana for 
medicinal purposes.

While in Canada, her husband has a permit to possess up to 5.4 kilograms of 
marijuana he grows himself.

"My husband is sick and he needs special care and the U.S. prison system is 
unable and unwilling to give him what he needs to live," she said.

Lawyer Keith Reimer, representing the federal justice department, told 
Simpson there is no evidence before the refugee board to suggest that Kubby 
would be placed in prison and left to die if returned to the U.S.

He said it appears the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency was not interested in 
him and the courts have offered to let him serve his sentence at home.

Simpson reserved her decision.
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