Steve Kubby: Free at Last (but he always was)

All I can do on this one is to cut and paste his e-mail message.

IÃ’m pleased to tell you that I’ve just been released from the Placer County Jail, where I spent 23 hours a day in lock-down, serving 62 days in “protective custody.”

During that time I experienced excruciating pain, a vicious high blood-pressure crisis, passed blood in my urine and I lost 33 pounds.
However, there was also good news. I learned that Marinol is an acceptable, if not ideal, substitute for whole cannabis in treating my otherwise fatal disease. Now I am a free man and I am profoundly grateful to be alive and to have friends and supporters such as you.

Everyone knows I was in jail for an unjust conviction that followed a politically inspired investigation of me in 1998 while I campaigned as the Libertarian candidate for governor of California. Seven difficult years later, I can finally declare our hard fought battle to be a victory and that the mission of the Kubby Defense Fund has been successfully completed.

I want to thank you for helping me through the ordeal.

With your help, we have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Thanks to the skillful negotiating of attorney E.D. Lerman, I spent a combined 62 days in jail versus the year or more that prosecutors wanted me to serve.

Despite the new charge, I spent three weeks less in jail than I would have in 2001, when the county did not have an early release for overcrowding.

The political landscape over medical marijuana has significantly changed in California since my arrest. I’d like to put some of the events of my case in perspective, as part of a final report from the Kubby Defense Fund.

When we started the Kubby Defense Fund in 1999, we faced dire circumstances:

• Nineteen felony counts;
• $200,000 bail, later reduced to a release on our recognizance;
• Involvement by local, state and federal drug warriors;
• A fraudulent DEA document that was used to obtain a search warrant;
• An anonymous note that we now believe was written by law enforcement;
• Judges removed for bias re-entering the case to make me a felony fugitive; and
• A public defender who abandoned our case, leaving us stranded in Canada.

Law-enforcement attitudes were outright hostile to medical marijuana at the time, something I experienced first-hand once I was arrested on Jan.
19, 1999. For 72 hours I was deprived of the only medicine I use, and quickly experienced the classic symptoms of hypertensive crises, as my blood pressure periodically soared, leaving me partially blind and violently ill.

Rather than offer medical care and solace, the jail authorities were openly derisive of my condition, treating me like a criminal who was hiding behind the medical-marijuana laws. It took me months to recover from that ordeal.

As a Libertarian, I chose to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and fight back. I chose to fight on behalf of the many qualified patients broken by unfair prosecutions, who did not have the resources or resolve to face their persecutors.

Over the next two years, we went through three juries and six judges, and built a legal team and brought in expert witnesses that ultimately outclassed the local prosecutors. During the trial, we discredited the prosecution’s key witness, a state narcotics officer who testified about plant yields at medical-marijuana trials across the state, making ordinary patients sound like drug kingpins.

Jail may be an inconvenience to some, but for me it is a life-threatening experience. That’s why I moved to Canada in 2001 rather than remain under the supervision of authorities I had no reason to trust. My reasons go to the unusual nature of my medical condition, with its potentially lethal episodes of high blood pressure.

When the Canadian courts denied our claims to refugee status, I was given the choice of being deported or leaving Canada voluntarily. On January 26 I returned from British Columbia to turn myself in, and served 40 days of the 120-day sentence imposed on me in 2001 for possession of a mushroom stem and peyote buttons.

The more recent stay was for violating probation by not returning from Canada sooner.

In the seven years since my previous stay in the Placer jail, moreover, I found that law-enforcement attitudes about medical marijuana had changed.
Gone was the hostility and taunts that guards directed my way in 1999.
This time they called me Mr. Kubby, and treated me with respect.

I was fortunate also that Dr. Tod Mikuriya prescribed Marinol for me as an experiment, and I was able to take the first dose at admission, just a single day after my last medication with whole cannabis. We had no idea if it would work, and it didn’t — at first. But, to my lasting relief, over the next few days my blood pressure began to fall to healthy levels.

Just one 10-milligram capsule of Marinol twice a day was able to control my blood pressure, although I did have problems with indigestion from taking the synthetic THC. Unfortunately, Marinol was a Schedule 2 drug when I was first arrested. Marinol was extremely hard to get until July of 1999, and remains very expensive and prisoners are usually not allowed to use it.

Nevertheless, this discovery was a fantastic turn of events for me, because guaranteeing a stable supply of pot is expensive and dangerous.
With Marinol as an acceptable if not ideal replacement for whole cannabis, I can now supplement my use of medical marijuana with a prescription medicine that is widely available. That will allow me to travel and work more easily, and represents a new lease on life for me.

We now have documented evidence from my jail medical records that Marinol can control the blood-pressure spikes of adrenal cancer, and may benefit others with blood-pressure disorders as well.

Certainly, no one can say that I was sneaking blood-pressure medicine along with the Marinol, since I was in jail and my medications strictly regulated. Similarly, no one can accuse the jail’s medical director of being pro-marijuana.

So, I think we proved that marijuana really does lower my blood pressure, and I really do have a life-and-death medical necessity.

I might have stayed in jail two-thirds longer, but I was released early after receiving a personal visit from the Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner, who commended me for my work on behalf of medical marijuana. Sheriff Bonner said law enforcement had learned a lot about medical marijuana through the course of my prosecution, and said he was honored to meet me.

Sheriff Bonner then told me he would talk with the district attorney and presiding judge, and advise them to “bury the hatchet.”

My arrest at the San Francisco airport and incarceration in Placer County were big news. Articles have appeared in the L.A. Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee and Fox News, and noted by CNN. In a story carried by the Associated Press, I was described as a “medical-marijuana champion,” while a feature story on page one of World Net Daily hailed me as a “crusader for medical marijuana.”

On Jan. 30, identified “Kubby” as the most-researched term on the Internet, outpacing iPods and Ted Koppel.

All this media attention represents millions of dollars of ink and TV time to educate the public on our issues.

Let’s list the accomplishments that you have helped make possible with your support of the Kubby Defense Fund.

• We raised and spent nearly $500,000 for our defense;
• Successfully defended a 265-plant garden based on limits for federal patients;
• Discredited the state’s expert witness on plant yields and limits;
• Reduced law-enforcement opposition to statewide regulation;
• Gave hope to patient groups that supported our cause; and
• Forced Placer County authorities to soften their medical-marijuana policy.

Along with the politics came light-hearted moments as well:

• Ryan Landers’ continually spilling his joints in front of courthouse security;
• Deputies asking Elvy Musikka to not show them her government-issued pot;
• The late Jane Weirick and her contingent of Incredible Toking Nuns; and
• The fabulous parties at Fred and Carol Colburns, celebrating our courtroom victories.

For seven years now, I have stood up for the rights of sick people who benefit from the medicinal properties of this healing herb. By speaking out, I incurred the wrath of those in power who believe medical marijuana is a hoax, and that my advocacy threatened their way of life.

Fortunately, those seven years of bad luck have come to an end, because I have made peace with the criminal-justice system that persecuted me.
Although I still face more than two years of minimal supervision before I am truly free, for the first time in seven years, my family and I are looking forward to resuming a normal life.

It might seem that we have successfully completed our mission, if for no other reason than I am alive and free. However, the constant threat of arrest, incarceration and even the possibility of death, have taken a terrible emotional and financial toll on my family. I need to get back on my feet and start providing again for my family – before I can get on with the never-ending struggle against omnipotent government.

Of course, it goes without saying that I am not abandoning the battle for freedom. When I was fighting for my life, the focus was necessarily on the medical marijuana issue, but now we can go on the offensive against the abuses of our legal system by those who are supposed to uphold the rule of law. More and more Americans, including many in law enforcement are recognizing that the so-called “drug war” is a counterproductive fraud that is a threat to everyone.

That has always been our message.

Let freedom grow,
Steve Kubby

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. I might have stayed in jail two-thirds longer, but I was released early after receiving a personal visit from the Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner, who commended me for my work on behalf of medical marijuana. Sheriff Bonner said law enforcement had learned a lot about medical marijuana through the course of my prosecution, and said he was honored to meet me.

    This is perhaps the most crucial thing right here. All the laws in the world mean nothing if the individual cops are unwilling to enforce them. We need to change the hearts and minds of cops, if we cannot actually change the laws (yet).

  2. When is all this nonsense going to end!? This poor guy had to waste almost a tenth of his life fighting the evil empire of the “Justice System”, for what amounts to be nothing more than having the basic the right to use modern medicine. This is just downright medieval. Where the hell are all the “human rights” that the US boasts so much about to other countries? Oh, the hypocrisy!

    Sometimes I wonder if the Evil Empire of “Justice” in America is just blindly doing what they believe should be the “Lords” work by castigating all the “sinners”. I don’t believe in religion, but I certainly do believe in what it did and what it will do in the Inquisitions.

    Behold, the new era of the Bush Regime: Space is no longer the only place where no one can hear you scream.

  3. It is too late to run for CA Gov this year, and you probably need more time to recover than would allow a Lib run for Pres in 2008, but it is not too early to start preliminary planning for a run at CA Gov in 2010, and the Lib Pres nom in 2012, all of which will yield greater opportunities in a higher profile and more effective public platform.

    Tnink about it, Steve.

    In the mean time,
    Good Luck,
    and God Bless You and Your Family!

    But, please, Steve, come home to CA.

  4. >All the laws in the world mean nothing if the individual
    >cops are unwilling to enforce them. We need to change the
    >hearts and minds of cops, if we cannot actually change
    >the laws (yet).

    Hah! The vast majority of cops are nothing but government thugs. They will do whatever their government masters tell them to do. They will be more than happy to kill people like you. Remember, in their eyes and the eyes of their masters, you are nothing but a serf who must obey EVERY edict our masters create, regardless of how absurd or immoral it may be.

  5. Support LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition).

    Also check out this photo gallery for the Steve Kubby court support rally in Auburn, California on January 31, 2006 a few days after Steve was put in the Placer County jail:

    There are also many background links there, and links to archives of many articles about Steve Kubby the last few months at hundreds of media outlets worldwide.