Pubdate: Mon, 15 Feb 1999
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center
Author: Becky Bartindale, Mercury News Staff Writer


S.J. Convention - Couple Claim They Needed To Grow Weed For Medical

Locked arm-in-arm, Steve and Michelle Kubby told an appreciative
Sunday evening crowd in San Jose about how their surveillance and
arrest for growing medicinal marijuana in their basement has changed
their lives.

Ironically, the Libertarian candidate in last year's governor's race
may end up attracting more attention for his arrest in Olympic Valley
last month than he did during his campaign.

The Kubbys, who publish an online magazine, were among a handful of
prominent speakers over four days at the Libertarian Party's 1999
state convention, which ends today at the San Jose Doubletree Hotel.
They were greeted Sunday night with a standing ovation, then hushed
the crowd with details of being charged with cultivating marijuana,
conspiracy and possession with intent to sell.

There were no sales," Kubby said; the 256 marijuana plants that were
seized were for their own use.

"There was no way economically we could stop growing his medicine,"
Michelle Kubby said.

The Kubbys had more marijuana "than necessitated by a medical
condition," Placer County prosecutor Christoper Cattran has been
quoted as saying.

Now the Kubbys' supporters are talking about mounting a recall against
Placer County District Attorney Bradford Fenocchio, who is prosecuting
the couple. "We are looking into all our legal options," Priscilla
Falconi, the Placer County Libertarian Party chairwoman, said after
the Kubbys spoke Sunday.

Both Kubbys use medicinal marijuana; they call it their

Michelle Kubby said she uses it as an anti-spasmodic for irritable
bowel syndrome. Steve Kubby has a rare form of adrenal cancer. The
marijuana helps control his blood pressure, helping protect against
stroke and aneurysms, his wife said.

Steve Kubby helped qualify Proposition 215 for the ballot, and in 1996
California voters approved the measure allowing distribution of
marijuana to seriously ill patients. But the Clinton administration,
and the state under former Attorney General Dan Lungren, claimed the
proposition conflicts with federal drug laws.

Kubby turned over most of his time Sunday to his wife, who talked with
emotion about what their family has been through. She began her tale
with the Jan. 19 raid on the couple's rented home in Olympic Valley.

Authorities began their investigation after receiving an anonymous
letter last fall saying Kubby was growing thousands of plants and
selling marijuana to finance his campaign. It culminated in the search
of their home.

"We have no business anymore," Michelle Kubby said of their online
magazine. They have taken our computer, our printer, our digital
scanner. They took all our plants, all our (plant growing) lights.
They've taken a lot from us. . . .They've destroyed our business and
our life."

Michelle Kubby said she'd had a miscarriage in September, "perhaps
because of the terror and stress from surveillance."

Steve Kubby said he was tipped to the investigation almost immediately
and would leave notes to investigators in the family trash, which was
being searched.

"Whoever wrote that letter put us and the Libertarian Party on the
map," Kubby said.

Michelle Kubby said she believes that the person who wrote the letter
"was close to us," and thus sees it as a "betrayal."

The worst part of their ordeal, she said, was time in the Auburn jail,
where she could hear her husband vomiting but she was not allowed to
see him. "This medicine (marijuana) is what keeps him alive," she
said. Without it, she said, "they almost killed him."
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