HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Pot Advocate Claims Refugee Status
Pubdate: Wed, 22 May 2002
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 The Province
Author: Keith Fraser


Kubby's Claim Could Delay Departure Order

Medicinal-marijuana advocate Steve Kubby has been ordered to leave Canada, 
but a refugee claim and criminal charges may delay deportation for at least 
a year.

Kubby fled California on drug charges last year and moved to Sechelt, where 
there is a growing colony of so-called drug refugees from the U.S.

Last month, immigration officials and the RCMP arrested the 56-year-old. 
After 160 marijuana plants were found in his home, he was charged with 
cultivating marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

At an immigration and refugee board hearing Friday, adjudicator Daphne 
Shaw-Dyck ruled that because of a prior drug conviction in California, 
Kubby was inadmissible to Canada. She issued a conditional departure order.

Under such an order, Kubby must leave voluntarily within 30 days or face a 
deportation order and a ban from entering Canada.

But Kubby has filed a refugee claim that the U.S. government is persecuting 
him and the application for the claim must be heard before he can be removed.

Meanwhile, he's got an adjournment until next month on the Canadian drug 
charges and may not go to trial until next year.

Kubby's wife, Michele Kubby, who also faces marijuana charges in Canada, 
says they can't leave the country while they face criminal proceedings.

"Meanwhile, we're staying at home. We're continuing on with business as 
usual, although we've now had to wrap up our fundraising efforts again and 
become professional defendants again."

Another Californian arrested in Sechelt at the same time as Kubby, 
35-year-old Steve Tuck, also got a conditional departure order. He is 
making a political refugee claim.

Canadian Alliance MP Randy White, vice-chairman of a national committee 
examining drug abuse, said the case just means Canada can expect more 
trafficking and drug problems.

And he added: "It's so typical of our refugee system being abused when 
Americans can claim refugee status for whatever they see as persecution."
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