Source: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense
Pubdate: Monday, 25 Jan 1999
Note: More email traffic has been generated about the arrest of Steve and
Michelle Kubby in the last few days that any other similar event in MAPs
areas of interest. Many California newspapers carried one of the three
major wire service stories, which were based on police accounts, with the
'spin' the police provided. To provide a different perspective, below are
the views of Richard Cowan and Tom O'Connell, plus thoughts from your Sr.

First, from - A Personal Newsletter on the Cannabis
Author: Richard Cowan, Editor and Publisher



Libertarian Party Organizations Now Committed To The Marijuana Issue. 

Large Number Of Plants Will Force Dealing With Difficult Questions 

- -- Analysis By Richard Cowan - January 22, 1999 

The Kubby case is -- at the very least -- going to be very interesting.

The absurd behavior of the police and prosecutors in arresting Steve and
Michelle Kubby is already backfiring.

Sending 12 armed police into the home of a nationally known medical
marijuana user and political activist was dumb enough. 

They compounded the damage by arresting them and holding them overnight
under inhumane conditions, and asking that bail be set at $100,000 each for
two non-violent persons who pose zero flight risk. As Kubbyís attorney
pointed out, this is more bail than is commonly required for violent

See: Elderly Oregon Medical Marijuana User More Severely Punished Than
Child Molester

The judge obviously wasnít buying it, and now the Kubbys have been released
without bail. 

First, it should be noted that the behavior of the police in this case was
hardly exceptional. The Feds sent a similar army to arrest Peter
McWilliams, and even to pick up Todd McCormick on a bail revocation.

See: Buckley Deplores The Mistreatment of McWilliams By The Feds
and: How the Government Helps Medical Marijuana Patients: "McWilliams
vomited repeatedly in court Friday, prompting guards to keep a trash can

People in wheelchairs are sometimes held at gunpoint, as though they might
run over the police. This sort of thing happens even in relatively
civilized Canada. 

See: Canadian Police March AIDS Patient, Wife and Child from House With
Hands Over Their Heads; Destroy Medical Marijuana Plants

Excessive bail - that would seem to violate the 8th Amendment -- is often
demanded. Peter McWilliams was held on $250,000, even though he posed no
flight risk. The prosecutors usually prevail. 

See: Todd McCormick Remains Free On $500,000 Bond; Hearing Scheduled For
December 14
and: Peter McWilliams Still Held on $250,000 Bond; Denied AIDS Medication
For Four Days!!!

McCormick was subjected to even worse mistreatment, although he was held in
a Federal facility, which are usually better than county jails.

See: Forced to Walk Barefoot Through Sewage, Denied Even A Pillow, Cancer
Patient Todd McCormick In Such Fragile Condition, He Is Transferred To The
Psychiatric Ward Where He Is Kept In Cold Cell

There are two things that are going to make the Kubby case a real test for
a lot of people. 

First, the alleged number of plants - over 300 -- was far larger than what
most people would consider necessary. After all, former AG Lungren wanted
to restrict patients to only two plants or one ounce, an amount he said
should be enough for 30 days. Or perhaps it was just pictures of two plants. 

On the other hand, the Oakland city regulations allow patients to have 30
outdoor marijuana plants, 48 indoor plants or 1.5 pounds of bulk marijuana.
By this measure the Kubbyís should have had only 96 plants. 

See: Oakland City Council Votes To Allow Patients One And Half Pounds Of
Medical Marijuana

In fact, there is no set amount that can be said to be appropriate for all

One ounce might last some people for months. For others, just a few days.
Also, the THC potency of the plants can vary greatly. The problem is that
there are simply too many variables for an arbitrary limit. 

Also, Kubby, like McCormick, is something of an expert on the plant, and
might reasonably want to do botanical research. And why not? Inasmuch as
the DEAland government is not doing any such research, it is perfectly
reasonable for someone like Kubby and McCormick, who have to grow their own
medicine, to want to experiment. 

It might seem reasonable for the either the federal or state government to
set limits on how many plants someone could have, if the governments were
acting in good faith to see that patients get the best medicine possible,
as soon as they need it. In fact, they are doing just the opposite. 

Nonetheless, the quantity will be the key issue. If there had been only a
few plants, then the case would probably just be dismissed.

Meanwhile back in the real world, the narcs donít want anyone to have
medical marijuana. Period. And the Libertarians and the broader marijuana
reform movement think that it should be legal. Period. 

The Libertarian Party - at both the state and national level have now
issued press releases supporting the Kubbys and denouncing their arrest.
They are now committed to taking action to support an individual, and not
just a broad principle. This is not to say that they have not been
dedicated to the issue before now. 

See: California Libertarian Party Pays For Press Release Saying McWilliams'
Arrest Is A "Wake-Up Call to Californians"

However, there is an old joke about the difference between "dedicated" and
"committed" that may be relevant to the present situation. 

When you have bacon and eggs, the chicken in dedicated, but the pig is
committed. Now the Libertarians have to go whole hog.  

Even those who are not Libertarians should recognize that the libertarians
play an important role in the American political process as persistent,
consistent, and usually disinterested, critics of government programs. 

I call myself a libertarian, but it is probably not surprising that I think
that the Libertarians have paid too little attention to the marijuana
issue. (No one pays enough attention to the marijuana issue!!)

I think that there are essentially two reasons for this neglect. First,
libertarians generally take the broad philosophical view that all drugs
should be legal, so it is not necessary - or even appropriate -- to focus
on marijuana or any single drug. I have argued otherwise, and many
individual libertarians may agree with me. 

See: Why Marijuana? Why Is There a Separate Marijuana Reform Movement? Why
Isnít Just Preaching Freedom Enough?

Nonetheless, minimizing government in general is the essence of

The other reason is that libertarians have the same limitations and
inhibitions as everyone else. The great thing about the Libertarian
philosophy is that you donít have to be an expert on marijuana - or on
anything else.

Almost all libertarians are "philosophically" opposed to the marijuana laws
- -- of course -- just as they are "philosophically" opposed to laws on
private adult sexual behavior. But why do we have to talk about that kind
of stuff? Letís talk about taxes, instead. And guns! Yeah, letís talk about

In short, people like to talk about those of their freedoms that they care
most about. But Kubby has forced the issue. The Libertarians have to
support their own, and it doesnít matter to them if he had three, or three
hundred or three thousand plants. He should have that right.

On the other hand the "pure" medical marijuana people may find the Kubby
case embarrassing, because of both the quantity -- and the libertarian
argument for full legalization. 

One of the great follies of the various segments of the cannabis reform
movements is the perceived necessity to separate their "pure" segment,
hemp, medical marijuana, or whatever, from NORML and/or the marijuana
reform movement, etc. 

See: Is The Hemp Leaf Just A Fig Leaf For Marijuana? Uneasy Relationships
in the Cannabis Movements
and: Wisconsin Legislator Wants To Legalize Hemp; Fears Support Of
Marijuana Reform Advocates; Attorney General Is Opposed; Narks Claim Local
Weed Is 25% THC!

The fact is that there is nothing that they can say or do that will appease
the prohibitionists or get the DEA to stop lying and claiming that they are
just "front for NORML." If the lying stops, the system will collapse.

Arresting sick people for using a plant that has not been approved by
Washington bureaucrats is wrong. It does not become right because the
person has a certain number of plants. 

However, arresting healthy people for using a plant that has not been
approved by different Washington bureaucrats is also wrong. It does not
become right because sick people have a special need for the plant. 

There is a difference between the needs of the sick and healthy, but
neither is the property of the government. 

The fact is that the government cannot and will not provide realistic
access to medical marijuana, and only the recognition of the rights of the
people will suffice. It is not about legalizing marijuana; it is about
legalizing freedom. 

See: The Nation Magazine Quotes Dr. Lester Grinspoon Explaining Why He
Thinks Only Full Legalization Will Allow Proper Access to Medical Marijuana

The fact that the government will not -- cannot -- stop lying about
marijuana means that even the libertarians are going to have to learn the
truth about marijuana. But libertarians have nothing to fear from the truth.

That will be the ultimate outcome of the Kubby case -- and whatever comes


Second, a view presented by Tom O'Connell (  ) on a
number of email lists. Tom is the news commentator for the DrugSense Weekly

Last week's issue provided the first widely distributed announcement of the
Kubby arrests, as well as an 'Open Letter to Bill Lockyer - Newly elected
California AG' by Dr. O'Connell, which just happened to be about the 215



The arrest, early last week, of recent Libertarian candidate Steve Kubby
and his wife at their Tahoe home came on the heels of another, less
publicized arrest, in San Francisco, of Richard Evans- also a high-profile
medical marijuana advocate- one week earlier. When taken together and
considered in detail, they suggest a pattern of police harassment of
otherwise law-abiding citizens for continuing to advocate medical
marijuana, a pattern occurring despite recent assurances from newly-elected
AG Bill Lockyer that he wants Proposition 215 to work as voters intended.

It didn't surprise when local officials, highly supportive of marijuana
prohibition, went after distributors of medical marijuana before November
1998. After all, AG Dan Lungren, Governor Pete Wilson, and Drug Czar
McCaffrey (despite empty promises to "leave to it science") were openly
hostile to the idea; Lungren's office had initiated a series of successful
legal actions to narrowly restrict the activities of buyers' clubs. The
rulings he obtained allowed maximum local enforcement of those restrictions
and culminated in several felony trials and convictions of distributors.
Finally, a delayed federal court challenge had all but shut down the few
surviving clubs by November 1998. As a result of this feverish combined
attack on Proposition 215, California patients who couldn't grow their own
cannabis had to obtain it from the criminal market. Either way, they were
still fair game for arrest, just as before its passage.

This should have changed after November, 1998; Lungren was defeated in his
bid for governor and Stirling, his hard-line designated successor as AG
lost by a wide margin to medical marijuana supporter Bill Lockyer; in the
background, multiple other state initiatives had passed handsomely.
Nevertheless, there were disturbing signs that local California officials
wouldn't accept change: the high-profile felony prosecutions of
distributors Peter Baez in San Jose and Marvin Chavez in Orange County
continued as if nothing had happened; Chavez was convicted and awaits
sentencing on Jan 29th; Baez' trial on multiple felony charges continues.

Both cases betray extreme police and prosecutorial hostility for the
accused; they utilized police "stings," with planted "patients" using
forged doctor recommendations. They also involve disputed police access to
patient records, maximum charges and (in Chavez' case), a blatantly unfair
attempt to prevent the jury from even hearing about medical marijuana.

Meanwhile, Lockyer had made several well-publicized statements of his
support for the idea of medical marijuana; although he cautioned its
supporters not to expect miracles and acknowledged that continued federal
hostility was still a problem. The ink on these assurances was hardly dry
when Evans and the Kubbys were arrested. Although there is no suggestion
that they are related by anything more than common motivation, the
similarities are chilling, they both involved long preparation, obvious
police targeting of medical marijuana advocates, and use of numerous
personnel to make middle-of-the night arrests, both sought maximum
humiliation and discomfort for those arrested, and finally, both sought
excessive bail.

These cases represent a challenge to the new AG. The large, well informed
activist community in California supporting medical marijuana will be
following developments carefully, not only in terms of what happens, but
also in terms of how fairly and completely their local media cover them.
There is little question that local law enforcement has become used to the
"pot bust" as a source of revenue and power, just as the incarceration
industry has thrived on a steady stream of marijuana "felons;" their
implacable resistance to the idea of medical marijuana gives away their
motive, which is not to protect "kids, " but to protect turf.

These events are not without national implications; it's no accident that
California, long the birthplace of new trends, passed the first medical
marijuana initiative. Police in states with newly passed initiatives will
take their lead from events here. So far we're not a very good model,
unless you are strongly opposed to patients and favor more cops and bigger

Tom O'Connell


Some personal thoughts from your Sr. Editor:

First, after reading many hundreds of marijuana bust stories in the past
year, I am not surprised that the media uses the wire service stories based
on what the police provide, and takes them at face value. But I am shocked
when I read reports that sound like some activists believing these police
propaganda pieces.

Was it '300 plants' or as in one report 'more than 300 plants?'  Or was it
the 265 plants, 150 unsexed seedlings, of which about half would have been
soon destroyed, as Steve told me. Of course, the police rounded up the number.

How about the value?  Was the reported $420,000 based on some estimate that
all '300' would produce 'a pound' each. No. Reportedly the police thought
it would be funny to use a number with '420' in it!

Of course the police spin was a clear attempt to erode public support for
the Kubbys. If you buy it, they win.

It does not matter that The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (the California
law resulting from 215) states: '(d) Section 11357, relating to the
possession of marijuana, and Section 11358, relating to the cultivation of
marijuana, shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient's primary
caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical
purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval
of a physician.' (For much more information on the Act and related
documents, see: )

While anyone who works the figures for marijuana as medicine, based on the
amounts supplied by the federal government to eight citizens, may find that
even the police reported number of plants could produce a reasonable supply
for two persons for only a matter of months; the amount IS NOT an issue of
California law.

The Kubbys, by law, have the right to grow a supply that could be
sufficient for them, for months or years, that they feel was necessary and
appropriate. By law, it is only for the Kubbys to judge the amount they
need, the amount needed to insure continued health and life, under unknown
future situations and conditions. If they desired to pickle, freeze dry,
can, or whatever, a lifetime supply, that is their right! That is the law
the people of California passed.

But it is not just in courts of law that this issue must be fought. It is
also in the court of public opinion.

Even though we know, as shown by elections and polls, where the American
people stand, we can not rest on that knowledge. Just as the police try to
shape public opinion thru their spin to the wire services, we must provide
the public with the rest of the story.

You, dear readers, make the difference in this battle for public opinion.
That is what I believe the Media Awareness Project is all about. You who
find the news items for this clipping service as newshawks. And you who
write the Letters to the Editor and OPED items that deliver the rest of the
story. And you who simply keep yourself educated about the issues so that
you can discuss them with others. Each of you help shape public opinion,
bringing the debate from hysteria to common sense.

Richard Lake 
Senior Editor; MAPnews, MAPnews-Digest and DrugNews-Digest
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake