Med-Marijuana Activist Arrested in California

We’ve been hammering away on the Steve Kubby issue, and now the mainstream media seems to be picking up on the issue. From the AP:

Medical marijuana crusader Steve Kubby was arrested Thursday night at San Francisco Airport after spending years as a fugitive in Canada.

Kubby was arrested on a no-bail warrant and booked into San Mateo County jail, San Francisco police said.

There was an emotional farewell earlier Thursday at Vancouver International Airport as Kubby reluctantly returned to the United States to face a jail sentence.

Richard Newell Michael Acree was on the scene, and reports the following:

Kubby’s flight landed about 8:00. I got to the airport around 7:30. There were perhaps three dozen supporters, with many signs, and half a dozen TV cameras. I didn’t recognize any other Libertarians. Most of the people I spoke with hadn’t met Kubby, and knew little about him; they were activists for the cause of medical marijuana, many of them obviously with a personal interest in the issue. Kubby was traveling with his attorney, Bill McPike; it was evidently their expectation that Kubby would be allowed to remain in McPike’s custody until his hearing in Placerville on Tuesday. Instead, police met the flight at the gate and escorted Kubby downstairs, bypassing the welcoming committee and the TV cameras, and whisked him off to jail. In Redneck City–excuse me, Redwood City–not San Francisco. McPike came out and spoke with reporters and supporters. There is supposedly some sort of hearing in Red wood City this morning at 9:00, but McPike didn’t know anything about it. He is extremely soft-spoken; standing directly behind the reporters he was speaking to, I was unable to hear him at all. I hope his soft-spoken, casual manner carries tremendous power in the courtroom, if Kubby makes it that far.

The attitude of the supporters present struck me as resolutely, and incongruously, optimistic. “There must a law against what they’re doing to him. . . .” Unlimited, unalterable faith in the government to restrain itself, and not do what it wants to do most, which is to punish critics. The last time Kubby was in jail for 4 days, without access to marijuana, he nearly died. His supporters seemed convinced that the government would not allow that to happen, lest Kubby be made a martyr. I personally don’t see the government as that terrified of creating martyrs. It is true that his dying in jail would constitute pretty good proof of his claim that marijuana is what has kept him alive for the last 30 years. But that outcome could be prevented by the simple device of having wardens look the other way while other inmates took care of him, as was done with John Geoghan. I would be at least mildly surprised if Kubby had another 2 weeks to live.

Time will tell if Kubby will be the latest American to die in the hands of the drug warriors. In the mean time, I’ve heard reliable rumors that the Kubby family needs a few thousand bucks to handle some of the additional expenses relating to the arrest. Your contributions can be made out to the Kubby Defense Fund.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Wikipedia page on Kubby has a link to this news item on his deteriorating health:

“I’m really sick already,” Kubby told [NORML spokesman] Gieringer by telephone said from jail. “I’m gonna start puking my brains out.” “He says his guards laughed at him when he requested Marinol. Kubby says he hasn’t had marijuana for half a day and has begun to experience all of the symptoms of his life-threatening disease — nausea, headaches, swollen kidneys. He has chills and has not been able to get a blanket from the guards,” Gieringer stated.

Commenter Richard Newell sez: “Good news – After much pain & anguish Attorney Bill McPike reports that Steve Kubby is to receive Marinol in the Placer County Jail!”

Brad Spangler writes on Marinol: Medical marijuana patients commonly describe Marinol as “inferior” in its effectiveness or “only marginally effective.” It might just barely be enough to save Steve Kubby’s life, though, and get him through this ordeal.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. Sorry to play devil’s advocate here, but imagine if he serves his sentence and lives?

  2. Hi Steve,

    A few corrections. The credit for being on the scene and providing the above quotes should go to SF Libertarian Michael Acree. All I did was forward Michael’s report on to you. Sorry for the confusion as to the source.

    Here is the latest I see from the ASA list (arrived 12:22 PST):

    “just inquired there and they claim he is no longer in custody, at least w/Maguire. probably on his way to Placer”


  3. “Sorry to play devil’s advocate here, but imagine if he serves his sentence and lives?”

    Imagine what?!

    There’s someone’s life at risk here, which has been verified by two different doctors. Medicinal cannabis regulates his blood pressure.
    Nothing else does.
    Let’s get him out of jail and speculate on things afterwards.

    “I’m really sick already,” Kubby said from jail two hours afterwards, “I’m gonna start puking my brains out.” He says his guards laughed at him when he requested Marinol. Kubby says he hasn’t had marijuana for half a day and has begun to experience all of the symptoms of his life-threatening disease – nausea, headaches, swollen kidneys. He has chills and has not been able to get a blanket from the guards.”They don’t understand that they’re dealing with someone with cancer,” he says.

    more info, including info on how you can help get Steve out of jail.

  4. I have written numerous people, on Steve’s behalf, describing his plight in detail. This included the Prime Minister of Canada, The Justice Minister and Immigration Ministers in Canada, and The Governor of California. In my opinion, if numerous people were to call the Governor’s office, advising him (or his representative) of your concern for Steve Kubby’s health, and possible demise, without medication, it MIGHT be possible that they would take an interest, and monitor his condition. Bad publicity doesn’t do any politician any good, it does get results.

    I wish Steve, Michelle and their daughters the best, but with conversations I’ve had with them, I know what he’s going through. Here’s hoping that Steve survives the weekend, and his lawyer has some results in getting Steve his needed medications.

  5. To Swerve’s comment, seems as if he is having withdrawal from something, maybe not smoke, but something.

  6. Vietnam Vet: he has adrenal cancer and as read as I’ve seen these are real side-effects of it. On the topic of “smoking,” you should realize that the media likes to play up the notion of it being consumed by smoking, but in fact there are several legitimate prescription formats like Sativex which are not smoked.

  7. [Some more posts, by way of NORML]

    Good news – After much pain & anguish Attorney Bill McPike reports that Steve Kubby is to receive Marinol in the Placer County Jail!

    There will be an arraignment and/or hearings on Tuesday at 1 PM and possibly 8:30 AM at the Placer Co. Courthouse in Auburn.

    Here’s how to contribute to
    Steve’s commissary:.

    OK – anybody can put money on Steve’s books for
    commissary & health items. These must be US postal
    money order. No letters may accompany the money orders.
    Letters of support may be sent to the same address.

    MOs should be made out to Steve Kubby.

    Steve Kubby BK 49899
    c/o Placer Co Jail
    2775 Richardson Drive
    Auburn, CA 95603

    His arraignment is set for 1 pm, on Tuesday 1/31.
    although we had set a hearing at 8:30 am for his
    surrender. I will be there at 8:30 am, to see if we are
    still calendared.

    >Just confirmed he’s in Placer Jail & Michele said
    >he got his Marinol Rx delivered. Just spoke to the
    >Jail Medical Dir & she says she got his Rx

  8. What town is Placer Jail in?

    Perhaps some carpools from Northern California cities could be arranged just to get witnesses and cameras (and public pressure) on the scene. Placer country officials must feel they are under scrutiny.

    The media will not tell this story without pictures. Until they show up, we have to shoot the photos and video ourselves. Document what’s happening, eventually they will be used. Let’s hope it’s not AFTER Steve has passed away.

  9. CBS 13 has been johny-on-the-spot w/ coverage today:

    “Medical marijuana refugee Steve Kubby, is now sitting in a Placer County jail.

    Kubby was arrested at San Francisco Airport last night- after being deported from Canada. He ran out of the country to avoid serving a 120 day jail sentence. Kubby is being charged with violating parole.

    Kubby says he suffers from a rare form of cancer and will die if he’s not allowed to smoke pot. But the placer county sheriffs are confident he’ll get all the medical attention he needs.

    “We have state-of-the-art medical facilities here at the Placer County jail. He will be seen by our medical staff. Any medical needs he has will be provided for by out jail staff here,” said Brian Whigham, Placer County Sheriff.

    Kubby will be in court in placer county next tuesday. “

  10. Oops, just noticed that the previous post has the address for Placer jail,

    Placer Co Jail
    2775 Richardson Drive
    Auburn, CA 95603

    Auburn is about 1/2 hour to the East of Sacramento on Highway 80, about 3 hours from San Francisco.

    Would it be beneficial for people to show up this weekend and hold vigil outside the jail? Monday? Tuesday? Candlelight vigils?

    Sacramento media will probably cover this if 20 people show up in tiny Auburn. Something silent and dignified would probably be best given his fragile health condition.

    How would his family and lawyer feel about this?

  11. Thanks Stephen for staying on top of it.

    Only 1 commercial media source (in the country (to my [MAP] knowledge) gave any coverage (Auburn Journal) to Steve’s UPCOMING deportation. Today its everywhere in the US.

    (actually… checked the MAP archive, LA Times gave it ink last Sat.)

  12. If California officials ignorantly martyr Kubby, it will be interesting to watch the family sue for a staggering amount of money. In a civil trial the state cannot behave like a dictator and won’t wield the immoral power they do in a criminal case. The family will also be able to call a number of medical experts as witnesses.
    If Steve dies, I hope the family sues for the ranch.

  13. Do you think that they could sue to keep the ranch staff? I always see one guy clearing brush- seems to be a hard worker in that regard. Perhaps the Kubby family could keep him on. You know, let him see what it really means to “serve the people.”

  14. Jamie, if you do it, here is the ph# for the CBS 13 (Sacramento) newsroom:

    916-374-1301 (News)

    the Auburn Journal (news tip submisssion):

    Phone: 530-885-6585 ext. 2
    Fax: 530-887-1231

    Penne Usher is the reporter who has been covering the Kubby case

    Also consider the the Anderson Valley Advertiser:

    (707) 895-3016
    (707) 895-3355 fax

  15. I feel so bad that I cannot do anything to help him. It doesn’t matter to me if he is smoking pot for recreation, although I do believe otherwise. This is an isssue of self-ownership. Who owns your body? Someone can take your wealth, and control your body, but you don’t consider yourself a slave? My my, has the slave master gotten efficient or what!

  16. Ian, What is this stuff about “ID checks upheld in court?” I must have missed that one. It is important, so please bring me up to speed.

    Under Bush, *every* week is not good for liberty!!!!!

    At least Steve is getting marinol. Better than nothing I guess.


  17. I appreciate the updates I am seeing and have sent an e-mail to the Placer County DA calling on him to stop the treatment Kubby is recieving and to allow him to be given the treatment he needs to stay alive and to be released into his wife’s custody.
    While a sad day for liberty indeed, I also echo the sentiments of Artus register. If Steve dies in Custody, I also hope that his wife sues for a gargantuan amount of money and that her suit stings Placer County.
    I will pray for Kubby at church tommorrow. Those of you who are Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. please pray for him as well. Steve Kubby will need all the help he can get.

  18. A sad commentary on how our government is so bent on controlling every aspect of our lives. It is disgusting that government officials would demand extraditing someone out of another country for smoking marijuana, when it is clear he needs this to stay alive. The message here is “We own you, and we don’t care who gets killed in the process.”

  19. Sometimes, me thinks, altho’ the anti-prohib/drug policy reform movement is a collection of intelligent socially conscious individuals we are hip deep in a subject that is voluminous in its issues and characters.

    Libby over at points out another victim (among the way-too-many) of the WO(s)D and the DEA’s overreach. Richard Paey ( ) will be one of the topics on CBS’ 60 Minutes program:

    Paey’s story is illuminating. Painfully so…

  20. I just forwarded the latest e-mail from Michele. Steve is being treated not just cruelly but illegally.

    This country is turning into another USSR thanks to Bushite whackos at the DEA, BATFE, and there in Placer County.

    What can *I* do to help Steve? I can’t go there (due to road conditions and the fact that I have little experience with icy roads) myself.

    Is it possible to bring him blankets and the right food? I could at least help pay for these. E-mail me at

    Is there going to be a protest of any kind? Here is an idea for a sign: Kubby Obeys the Law, Bush Breaks it. Put Kubby in the White House, Bring Bush Here.

    Alice Lillie

  21. Maybe, if enough of us push, SOMEONE in the mainstream media may get wind of the cannabis and drug reform community being pissed off, concerned and in need of coverage about Steve’s plight (I’ll dig more if anyone is interested):

    – NBC News:


    Local affiliates:

    – Tim Russert and NBC’s Meet the Press:

    What would you like to ask this week’s Meet the Press guests? :

    – Larry King:

    – CBS news: (contact button at bottom of page, creates a boxed window, no URL)

    Local affiliates:

    – ABC News:

    Message board (registration, create ID):


    Local affiliates:

  22. latest from Michele-

    “A contact in Placer has just called to give me an update on Steve. I’m so glad someone heard from him.

    His main concern at this point is that Placer is not documenting the effects of his disease on his body or taking his illness seriously. His blood pressure is at 166/108. Placer is not testing for blood in his urine, either. Placer has also turned down Steve’s request for Tylenol pain killer.

    Steve wanted to express his gratitude for the calls. They are making a difference. One Sergeant, named Sanders has made sure that Steve is warm and has a blanket and pillow now, because of your concern.

    One thing my friend did say, Steve sounds amped and angry. This is to be expected because of the adrenaline in his body.

    I hope this is resolved on Tuesday. Thanks for being there.


  23. I just don’t get it. Steve’s actions have only affected him, to the detriment of is health or not. It should be his choice and his choice only. I am currently dealing with a case where the powers that be don’t want to be bothered with extraditing a convicted Domestic Violence offender from one state to another, let alone from a foreign country. The person I’m dealing with is someone who has 2 convictions of DV assault and one other known case that was plea bargained down. He is a threat to others and they don’t give a damn. Steve is a threat to himself only, at the very worst!!!

  24. Well, I get it. Steve is a threat to the *establishment.* The DV offender is a threat to *individuals.*

    Guess which is more inportant to the establishment.

    Money and power are gravitating towards establishment interests primarily in D.C. Even within the Federal government power is gravitating to the Executive Branch.

    The insane war on drugs is part and parcel of this (as are many other important parts such as the war in Iraq, monetary policy and more). By doing the fine work he has, Steve is a monkey-wrench in the works, so they have to get rid of him.

    That he is a human being, made in the image of God, and has a life and family are the main reasons why we have to save him. But the above is *another* reason!!!!