Message from Steve Kubby - April 14, 2006

Dear Friends,

I'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:

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 I-Pods 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.

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


Auburn, CA. MAR. 14th. Medical marijuana prisoner Steve Kubby was sent back to Placer County jail March 14th to serve the remainder of his sentence. Kubby had been temporarily released March 8, on account of overcrowding . After having suffered severe medical problems upon his initiial arrest, Kubby has been able to manage his medical condition by use of Marinol. Kubby expressed gratitude toward Sheriff Ed Bonner for having treated him considerately and professionally. "I have developed a profound respect for the professional and highly dedicated staff and officers here," he said. Kubby's sentence was halved to 60 days in view of his good behavior.


Medical marijuana refugee Steve Kubby was taken to the Placer County jail on Jan. 27th, 2006 to begin serving a 4-month sentence on drug possession charges. Supporters are fearful that he will not survive in jail without access to medical marijuana. Kubby has used cannabis exclusively to treat a rare form of adrenal cancer, pheochromocytoma , since the 1980s, and is thought to be the longest living survivor of the disease.

Placer County jail has agreed to let Kubby use Marinol, but it is not clear that this will adequately control his disease. He suffered severely during the first couple days of his imprisonment, when he had no access to any medication. Subsequently, on Feb 2nd, Steve reported that he was feeling better with the Marinol and that thanks to an outpouring of protest from supporters he was being treated well by prison doctors.

Kubby was arrested Jan 26th at the San Francisco airport on returning from Canada, where his appeal for refugee status was rejected. He was arrested on a warrant from Placer County, where he had been sentenced to four months for possession of minute quantities of psilocybin mushrooms and peyote discovered in the course of a 1999 raid on his medical marijuana garden. Kubby and his family fled to Canada, but were removed by order of the Canadian Immigration Ministry, which rejected his claim that serving jail time would endanger his life.

His attorney Bill McPike, has petitioned the court to allow him to be released on electronic monitoring so he can resume treatment with marijuana.

Related Links:
Medical Pot Advocate Loses Bid to Bar Deportation From Canada
Marijuana Activist May Be Deported to U.S.
The Kubby Chronicles


Medical marijuana refugee Steve Kubby was arrested by a dozen police immediately upon landing at the San Francisco airport and whisked off to the Redwood City jail. A welcoming party of supporters and media were disappointed to discover that he had been spirited away out of sight through a back entrance.

"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.

Kubby is upset that he was arrested immediately off the plane, when he had offered to turn himself in voluntarily in Placer County on Tuesday. San Francisco airport police said that they had arrested him at the request of Placer County authorities. They said Kubby will be arraigned in court tomorrow morning, though it wasn't clear where - in Redwood City, where he is being detained, or in Placer County. Kubby did not even know where he was being detained when he called California NORML.

Aside from his inhumane medical treatment, Kubby says police have treated him politely. He embarked on his trip in good spirits in the hopes of finally resolving his fight with the law.

- D. Gieringer, Cal NORML