Pubdate: Sun, 7 Feb 1999
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright:  The Sacramento Bee
Contact:  P.O.Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852
Author: Associated Press


OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif (AP) -- Former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate
Steve Kubby and his wife, Michele, were tipped off months in advance to law
enforcement's investigation of their marijuana growing operation, a
newspaper reported.

Launched by an anonymous letter claiming Kubby was financing his campaign by
selling marijuana, the North Tahoe Task Force investigation climaxed Jan. 19
with the arrest of Kubbys on various marijuana charges.

Now, they face charges of cultivating marijuana in their Olympic Valley
home, conspiracy and possession with intent to sell. A preliminary
conference is set for Feb. 22 in Tahoe Superior Court.

The case promises to become the highest-profile test to date of California's
Proposition 215, the initiative voters approved in 1996 authorizing the use
of marijuana with a physician's approval.

Steve Kubby, who has adrenal cancer and was instrumental in qualifying
Proposition 215 for the ballot, openly espoused the use of medicinal
marijuana in the governor's race last year. Kubby finished fourth, receiving
1 percent of the vote.

According to court documents filed by the multiagency North Tahoe Task
Force, the investigation included interviews of Kubby associates,
surveillance of the couple's home, checking their household trash and an
analysis of their utility bills.

But, no sooner than the anonymous letter from Marina del Rey piqued the
interest of the drug task force, then the Kubbys were tipped off an
investigation had begun.

"They underestimated our political contacts, our influence and our friends
in the medicinal marijuana movement," said Michele Kubby during an interview
with the Auburn Journal at the couple's Olympic Valley home.

Producing evidence of the Kubbys' marijuana garden was easy for members of
the task force, which includes law-enforcement officials from Placer County,
the state of Nevada and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
Investigators found stems, seeds, leafy marijuana residue, partially smoked
marijuana cigarettes and packaging for cultivation supplies.

Christopher Cattran, a Placer County deputy district attorney assigned to
the Lake Tahoe office, said he was not impressed by the Kubbys' reliance on
Proposition 215.

"My review of 215 is that (they had) more marijuana than necessitated by a
medical condition," Cattran said Tuesday. "And there is some evidence that
they furnished it to another individual -- observed during the

Investigators seized 256 plants, about half of which were seedlings.

The Kubbys insist they are the perfect defendants to overcome police and
prosecutor opposition to Proposition 215. They deny selling any of the
marijuana they harvested, and point to their modest financial
circumstance -- $4,800 in savings and a 10-year-old car -- as proof their
only income is derived from Steve Kubby's online magazine, Alpine World.

"We want to see justice done," Cattran said. "If it turns out ... a jury
decides that 265 plants are all right, then that's justice. But if the jury
decides it's just too much, justice is done then, too."

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