Pubdate: Sun, 7 Feb 1999
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center


Libertarian Was Tipped Off Before 
Marijuana Arrest, Wife Says

OLYMPIC VALLEY - 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 the 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 one of the highest-profile tests 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 with Kubby associates,
surveillance of the couple's home, checking their household trash and
an analysis of their utility bills.

But, as the anonymous letter from Marina del Rey piqued the interest
of the drug task force, the Kubbys were tipped off an investigation
had begun.

``They underestimated our political contacts, our influence and our
friends in the medicinal marijuana movement,'' Michele Kubby said
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, 256
seedlings and packaging for cultivation supplies.

``My review of 215 is that (they had) more marijuana than necessitated
by a medical condition,'' Placer County Deputy District Attorney
Christopher Cattran said Tuesday.

``And there is some evidence that they furnished it to another
individual -- observed during the surveillance.''

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.
- ---
MAP posted-by: derek rea