Pubdate: Tue, 07 Mar 2006
Source: San Mateo County Times, The (CA)
Copyright: 2006 ANG Newspapers
Author: Eric Bailey, Los Angeles Times
Cited: Steve Kubby
Bookmark: (Kubby, Steve)


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 decades.

"I realized the taunting and skepticism about my condition thatI
experienced when I was first jailed here in 1999 was not present with
any of the jail staff this time," said Kubby, a onetime 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.

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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