I have been following with great interest, and much displeasure, the recent legal travails of Steve Kubby and his family.
If I put on rose-colored glasses, I suppose I would say that it’s really a blessing that Steve and his family have been granted five extra years together in Canada. Yes, I’m glad that the Kubby family had a place to go for refuge from the persecution they endured in California, but it was hardly a vacation, since legal issues have been an ever-present fact of their life since going to Canada. The simple fact of the matter is that the U.S. government prosecuted Steve Kubby originally to make an example of him, since he had gained prominence through his political activities, including his role in helping to pass Proposition 215, the very law that should have prevented the government from prosecuting him for growing and using the medicine he needs to stay alive.
This is not unprecedented. The government successfully persecuted, er, prosecuted, writer Peter McWilliams, not un-coincidentally after he had joined the Libertarian Party on nationally-broadcast TV at the 1998 national convention. In fact, they did such a good job of persecuting him that they killed him. I, probably like some of you reading this, wrote a letter to Judge King, the man charged with determining what would happen to Mr. McWilliams, a man living with cancer and AIDS who, like Steve Kubby, needed medical marijuana to stay alive. The Judge ignored our letters and kept the bond in place that McWilliams’ mother had posted for her son’s release (that is, her home), with the stipulation that if McWilliams were to test positive for marijuana use the bond would be forfeited. He abided by the Court’s stipulation, and wound up choking on his own vomit because he couldn’t keep down the numerous pills required for his illnesses. The Court, and the government, could have reasonably foreseen that this would happen. Okay, I’m being generous; I believe that they actually intended that this should happen. They succeeded. They killed a man who happened to be skilled in conveying libertarian ideas and who also happened to need the medicinal properties of a plant to stay alive.
This should not be allowed to happen again. While one could imagine that perhaps Peter McWilliams might have lived a slightly longer life even if deprived of his medicine (if you don’t have much grounding in reality), it is a certainty that Steve Kubby will die without his medicine, cannabis. His is a very unique case in the annals of medicine, and the only reason he has survived this many years after diagnosis with his particular type of cancer is his use of medical marijuana. Simply put, deny him his medicine and you kill him, quickly but, nevertheless, tortuously. You kill a man who is hurting no one by growing and smoking pot and who has a loving family who needs him (and who, not un-coincidentally, also happens to be able to communicate well with the public about the dangers of big government and the rights of the individual).
As I write this, plans are in motion to force the Kubby family to return to the U.S. In fact, pending any last minute removal by the Canadian government of the Removal Order forcing Kubby back to the U.S., he will be forced to return to California tomorrow, Thursday, 1/26/06. I am truly anguished watching the government in its machinations to murder Steve Kubby, particularly after doing what I thought I could and then watching them kill Peter McWilliams.
I realize that at this point there is little recourse but to contact Canadian officials to urge them to remove the Removal Order (for information see Michelle Kubby’s post on www.kubby.com). There is another step that can be taken, if you live near San Francisco or can get there within a few hours (to my great regret, this is not my situation). I urge everyone who is able to and who gives a damn about our right as American citizens to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to converge upon San Francisco at the time of Kubby’s arrival to prevent unnamed law enforcement personnel from taking Steve Kubby to a certain, unconstitutional death (if he is allowed to ‘land’ in a different state, we may not be needed immediately — please urge this as a backup plan if you contact Canadian officials). Medical marijuana activists from California will be present to meet Kubby, according to a press release, but it is vital that as many liberty-minded people are present as is possible. This is not just a matter relevant for those whose main issue is the availability of medical marijuana for those who need it, but a matter important for anyone who believes the government should not just be able to kill any citizen who disagrees with a law. (For what it’s worth, I explained the Kubby family’s situation to my 7-year-old son a couple of nights ago, and he was appalled that the government might actually be able to kill this man, who has children who need him, just for growing a plant and using it for medicine. Not exactly rocket science, is it?)
Please, please, do whatever you can to keep this man alive.
Update by Stephen Gordon: Michele Kubby e-mailed the following (Canadian version) to me:
Contact: Richard Cowan, 604-633-9122 home 778-898-9046 Cell
Kubby Fairwell Party and Press Conference at Vancouver Airport 2:00 pm Thursday
Steve has just notified Border Services that he will be departing Vancouver on Alaska Air at 5:47 pm, arriving SFO 8:07 pm. There will be a Vancouver Airport Press Conference at 3:30 pm. A SFO Press Conference is in the planning.
Kirk Tousaw was in court from 10 to 12:30 and returned at 3 pm today for more arguments, but was told the judge is “perplexed.” Kirk is supposed to return for more arguments at 4:15 and may not finish until 5 pm. If we are denied, Kirk will still continue seeking a stay through other means, up until the last minute.
Because we had to notify Border Services 24 hours in advance of Steve’s departure arrangements, we must begin plans now for a Farewell Party at the Vancouver Airport and the Welcome Party at SFO.
Bill McPike, Steve’s California attorney will now plan to fly up to meet Steve in Vancouver and escort him to San Francisco where he will appear in a Placer courtroom on the following Tuesday.
as well as (California version):
Contact: Clark Sullivan 415-424-0125 firstname.lastname@example.org
Who: Axis of Love San Francisco, Hemp Evolution, California Marijuana Party
What: Steve Kubby Welcome Home Reception
When: Thursday, January 26, 2006 6:30 PM
Where: San Francisco International Airport, Alaska Airlines Terminal 1 (NOT the International Terminal)
Why: San Francisco medical cannabis patients, caregivers and their supporters welcome back from Canada, Steve Kubby, a Drug War political prisoner, and former Libertarian candidate for California governor, to the ‘City of Sanctuary’ for medical marijuana. We ask that you stand with Steve, when he arrives at SFO, in a display of support in his continuing battle with Placer County officials.
We will be meeting at 5PM on the San Francisco City Hall Steps to leave for the airport on BART. If you have a car and can accomodate passengers, please call 1-510-472-1463. A van will be made available to those unable to afford BART.
If you are unable attend this important event, we ask that you please contact:
Bradford R. Fenocchio
Placer County District Attorney
(530) 889-7129 fax
email@example.com to voice your disapproval over Steve Kubby’s inhumane treatment.
Update by Stephen VanDyke: The reception event is also listed on Upcoming.org — RSVP