Pubdate: Sun, 10 Oct 1999
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register
Author: Steve Kubby
Note: This OPED piece ran as a letter and was awarded this week's "Golden
Pen Award." The Register ran a photo of Steve with the following sidebar:
"Mr. Kubby, who played a key role in the Proposition 215 campaign in 1996
and was the Libertarian candidate for California governor last year, was
arrested for marijuana cultivation and sales several months ago when he
lived in Placer County. Their trial was postponed to early next year."


I should be dead. That's what doctors recently told me after completing
extensive medical tests at the University of Southern California's School
of Medicine. According to Dr. Vincent DeQuattro, a USC professor and world
authority on adrenal cancer, my blood contains deadly levels of adrenaline,
more than enough to kill anyone else.

That's really not surprising, since everyone who has ever had my disease
has died within a few years. Except for me. Thanks to medical marijuana,
I'm now entering my 23rd year of survival, something DeQuattro considers a
"medical miracle."

Dr. DeQuattro even wrote a letter advising that I could suffer a heart
attack or stroke if deprived of marijuana and that no other form of therapy
is available.

Unfortunately, none of this seems to matter in Placer County, where 20
armed officers from four different agencies stormed our Squaw Valley home
early on the morning of January 19, 1999. Armed with laser guided automatic
weapons, body armor and a battering ram, a SWAT team from the North Tahoe
Narcotics Task Force blocked off our street, raided our home and
confiscated almost everything of we own.

Besides taking my plants, gardening equipment and medicine, they seized all
of our electronic publishing equipment. That action effectively killed our
on-line magazine, Alpine World, which had been rated as the 25th top
electronic magazine in the world. This raid destroyed our primary source of
income, forcing us out of our home and into bankruptcy. All of these
officers believed that medical marijuana is a hoax and that we deserved to
be destroyed. None of the officers had read or been briefed on the new
medical marijuana law.

The Task Force confiscated our passports and social security cards. They
stole our company's petty cash and then went through our safe deposit box.
They even took the cash out of our wallets. Then they arrested us,
handcuffed us, and took us away to jail for three days. After taking
everything we own, they arbitrarily set bail at $200,000. Fortunately, our
attorneys were able to persuade a judge to drop all bail and release us on
our own recognizance.

When the invaders threw us in jail and deprived me of my medicine, my body
went into the equivalent of diabetic shock. Without medical marijuana to
protect me from the deadly effects of my tumors, I began to experience
severe vomiting by the end of the day. By the end of my three days in jail,
I was blind in my left eye and suffering excruciating painful bouts of high
blood pressure. My wife told everyone that my life was at risk, but she was
told only, "If he dies, we'll let you know."

During the entire three days I was incarcerated, my tormenters mocked me as
a medical marijuana patient, going out of their way to punish me. For
example, although I was in my cell vomiting into the toilet, I was forced
to attend breakfast where my repeated bouts of vomiting could be witnessed
by the rest of the inmates who were trying to eat their meal.

Although both my wife and I are legal patients with doctor recommendations
we face a 19 count criminal indictment, just for the crime of using a
medicine, which is not government, approved. Absolutely none of our medical
marijuana was ever sold or illegally distributed.

The City of Oakland is the only jurisdiction in California that has set
guidelines since the passage of Proposition 215. We carefully kept our
home-grown medicine within that one set of The Oakland Guidelines - which
also happens to be lower than the 7.1 pounds of marijuana our federal
government currently sends to each of the eight patients on the
Compassionate IND program each year.

Those eight federal medical marijuana patients are doing very well thank
you. They work, travel and even drive while using their medication and
there are no problems. In fact, each of the federal patients is doing much
better than their counterparts on conventional drugs, enjoying a productive
and reasonably comfortable life.

Unfortunately, the Compassionate IND program was suspended years ago and no
one, no matter how desperately ill can qualify. The program has become such
an embarrassment to the Clinton Administration that they refuse to
acknowledge that these federal standards for medical marijuana already exist.

While the Feds love to argue that federal law supersedes state law, the 9th
Circuit Court of Appeals recently disagreed. In a unanimous decision, a
three member panel of judges found that seriously ill patients should be
exempt from federal laws regarding marijuana. The federal court has sent
the case back to District Court where the case is scheduled to be heard in
November 1999.

No one can dispute that there are basic legal, medical and human rights
issues at stake here. Sick, disabled and dying people are being dragged out
of their beds, frightened, threatened, arrested, jailed and exposed to
deadly opportunistic infections. Innocent, law abiding sick people, are
being vilified and persecuted simply because they rely upon a politically
incorrect medication. Worst of all, the police we pay to protect us against
violent criminals are out raiding sick and dying people instead.

We hope our case will achieve in the jury box what we were supposed to have
won at the ballot box -- the right for medical patients to not be treated
as criminals. Medical marijuana is not a hoax. It's time to stop arresting
sick and dying people.

Steve Kubby
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