Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jan 1999
Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register

Steven Kubby, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor and an
acknowledged medical marijuana patient, and his wife Michele were arrested
Tuesday and charged with possession of marijuana for sales, cultivation and

About 300 plants were confiscated with street value estimated at $420,000,
according to Lt. Mike Allen of the North Tahoe Task Force.

The arrest, which followed a six-month investigation, raises yet again the
question of whether Proposition 215 will ever be implemented properly in
California. It would be helpful to hear more from Attorney General Bill
Lockyer, who campaigned as a supporter of the rights of medical marijuana
patients and could do a great deal to ensure compassionate and uniform
enforcement of the law.

The law -- Section 11362.5 of the Health and Safety Code -- exempts
patients with an authorization from a licensed physician and "primary
caregivers" from the laws against possession, cultivation and use of
marijuana. Selling, transporting and distributing marijuana are still
illegal under state law, although appeals court decisions suggest the
necessity of some leeway for patients and caregivers. So far no court has
determined exactly how much leeway will be allowed and the state has not
issued guidelines.

Mr. Kubby and his wife are patients who say they have authorization from
licensed physicians and who acknowledge they grow marijuana plants in their
basement for their own use but deny they distribute to anyone. They were
rousted from their home in North Lake Tahoe Tuesday evening by a dozen
members of the North Tahoe Narcotics Task Force and taken to the Placer
County Jail in Auburn. Their bail, Mr. Kubby said, was set at $100,000 each
and they were denied access to marijuana while in jail.

This is of great concern to those who know the couple. Mr. Kubby, 52, has
malignant pheochronocycoma, or terminal adrenal cancer. Without medication,
he says, his blood pressure "spikes" to dangerous levels. When we talked to
him from jail yesterday afternoon he told us he had had three episodes of
high blood pressure and was concerned that he might have a stroke.
Marijuana works for Mr. Kubby better than conventional medications, and his
doctor has authorized it. (The Kubby's attorney, Dale Wood, told us he
didn't know what Michele's medical condition is, but that she does have a
physician's recommendation.)

Mr. Wood said the local sheriff's department has refused to provide Mr.
Kubby any marijuana while he is in jail. Such a decision is outrageous. But
it highlights the need to develop guidelines for the implementation of
Prop. 215, a responsibility the previous attorney general shirked.

The real outrage is that Mr. Kubby was arrested at all. As Robert Raich, an
attorney who is a member of the city of Oakland's medical marijuana working
group, told us, "I can't think of anybody to whom Prop. 215 more directly
applies than Steve Kubby. He has a physician's authorization and he was
growing only for his and his wife's personal medical use. It's troubling
that he won't have access to his medicine while in jail, but it's even more
troubling that he is in jail at all. Prop. 215 was written to keep patients
out of jail."

Bill Lockyer's press representative, Hilary McLean, told us that the
attorney general's policy is usually not to intervene in local decisions on
prosecution and she knew of no plans to intervene in Mr. Kubby's case.

It should be the attorney general's job to make sure that law enforcement
officials abide by the statewide law. California voters passed Prop. 215
more than two years ago. The proposition itself hasn't been challenged in
court and has not been overturned -- although various law enforcement
agencies have nibbled at its edges in the way they have treated patients.

It's time for law enforcement and the courts to respect that law. 
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