Pubdate: Wed, 03 Nov 1999
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Edition: Orange County
Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Times
Contact:  Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053
Fax: (213) 237-4712
Author: David Reyes, Times Staff Writer
Note: The 'group' is the newly formed American Medical Marijuana
Association which has webpages at:


A group that helped legalize marijuana for medical purposes asked
Orange County supervisors Tuesday to help them find a "safe place"
where the seriously ill can use the drug without fear of arrest or
harassment by law enforcement.

Mission Viejo resident Anna Boyce, a co-author of the marijuana
initiative, said at least "two to three dozen" county residents have
had encounters with law enforcement officials who ignored proof of a
doctor's recommendation that they use the drug for medical reasons.

"Orange County needs a safe place like the one they have in Los
Angeles," Boyce said. "There, they have a church and nobody bothers
them." Boyce and half a dozen other speakers were part of a statewide
effort to bring attention to such problems on the initiative's third
anniversary. They say hundreds of people in the county suffering from
AIDS, cancer and glaucoma are being victimized by overzealous law

"We have people with neurological diseases and several others with
crippling spinal arthritis," she said after the meeting. "These people
are not addicted to marijuana but using it as medicine, and it's a
shame that they can't get it because so much pressure is applied
against them and their caregivers."

Supervisors said they want more information before taking a

Steve Kubby, 52, of Laguna Beach, who said he has terminal cancer of
the adrenal glands, told supervisors he has been arrested in Northern
California, where he once lived, and would just "like to stay alive
and be allowed to use marijuana."

"This is a law that was passed but is being ignored," Kubby said.
"We've been arrested, thrown in jail and strip-searched." Kubby, who
also was last year's Libertarian candidate for governor, was arrested
Jan. 19 when narcotics officers raided his home near the Squaw Valley
ski resort.

Agents confiscated 265 marijuana plants growing in the basement and
arrested the politician and his wife.

The drug case has thrust Kubby, who said he smokes pot daily to
control a rare form of cancer, into the forefront of the roiling
battle over medical marijuana.

While dozens of people have tried to use the law as a shield against
prosecution, few have succeeded. Although other patients say the drug
helps them cope with illness, Kubby goes farther. Marijuana, he
contends, has kept him alive.

Kubby's case is scheduled to begin in Placer County on Feb.

In September, David Lee Herrick, the first county resident to try to
use the initiative's medicinal-marijuana provisions as a defense to
drug sale charges, won an appeals court reversal of his conviction.

Herrick won a new trial when the appellate court found that a county
prosecutor had engaged in "willful misconduct" and misled the jury.

Though the ruling didn't address the merits of the initiative,
medicinal-marijuana advocates hailed the decision as a positive one.

Herrick, 49, was a member of the Orange County Cannabis Co-op, which
was formed after the initiative's passage. He was convicted in May
1998 on two counts of felony marijuana sale and was sentenced to four
years in prison.
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