Pubdate: Tue, 07 Mar 2006
Source: Daily Review, The (Hayward, CA)
Copyright: 2006 NG Newspapers
Author: Eric Bailey, Los Angeles Times
Cited: Steve Kubby
Bookmark: (Kubby, Steve)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


SACRAMENTO -- Steve Kubby, a California medical marijuana pioneer who
was forced to return from Canada earlier this year and was thrown into
jail, earned his freedom Monday after serving a third of the
four-month sentence his doctor predicted might kill him.

Placer County jail officials said Kubby's release after 40 days behind
bars came because of his good behavior in custody and their need to
reduce crowding under a federal court order.

Kubby has spent the last six years vociferously fighting Placer County
authorities over his conviction for possession of a peyote button and
a psychedelic mushroom. But his early release underscored a sudden
shift in his once bitter attitude toward law enforcement

In jail, Kubby lost 25 pounds, yet said he gained respect for his
jailers and the medical staff who tended to the rare, and typically
terminal, form of adrenal cancer he has been treating with marijuana
for three decades.

"I realized the taunting and skepticism about my condition that I
experienced when I was first jailed here in 1999 was not present with
any of the jail staff this time," said Kubby, a one-time Libertarian
gubernatorial candidate and early backer of California's watershed
1996 medical marijuana initiative. "I realized that these guys were
getting heat over me, and they didn't deserve it."

The first days of his incarceration were marked by loud criticism of
Placer County officials by medical marijuana activists worried that
Kubby might die in jail without access to marijuana. His blood
pressure, normally 120 over 80, jumped to 170 over 120 and blood
appeared in his urine.

But soon after he arrived in Placer County jail, Kubby started

Marinol -- a legal synthetic form of marijuana's psychoactive THC -- to
thwart blood-pressure spikes that his doctors say can turn lethal.

His condition stabilized, and Kubby wrote to his jailers and the
medical staff apologizing for negative publicity during the first days
of his incarceration. In the letter, Kubby said he had "developed a
profound respect for the professional and highly dedicated staff and
officers here."

Kubby's travails date back to the weeks right after his failed run for
governor in November 1998. Spurred by a tip that Kubby had been
selling marijuana to finance his gubernatorial campaign, a drug
enforcement task force raided his home near the Squaw Valley ski area.

Kubby beat the marijuana sales charges after his attorneys argued his
265-plant basement garden was necessary to produce the abundant
cannabis crop he needed to control the cancer.

But the jury convicted Kubby on two counts of possessing a psychedelic
mushroom and a single peyote button.

Before his sentencing in 2001, Kubby moved to Canada with his wife and
two young children. Kubby failed to win a bid to become a political
refugee and he flew back to California on Jan. 26 and was whisked off
the jet by police at San Francisco International Airport.

Although a free man Monday, Kubby still faces a March 14 hearing for
failing to appear at his original sentencing five years ago.
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