Steve and Michele Kubby
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Just nine days after being released from Placer County Jail because of good behavior and overcrowded conditions, Steven Wynn Kubby is behind bars again – this time on charges of violating probation.
The 59-year-old medical marijuana advocate turned himself in at the jail late Wednesday to begin a 60-day sentence imposed the preceding day by Superior Court Judge Robert McElhany, who ruled that Kubby had violated probation when he moved to Canada in 2001 with his wife, Michele, and the couple's two young daughters to avoid a sentence for drug possession.
A co-author of California's voter-approved Compassionate Use Act and the 1998 gubernatorial candidate for the Libertarian Party, Kubby seemed in far better spirits than at the beginning of his earlier stint.
"I know everyone at the jail now so I told them – Get my suite ready," he joked to WorldNetDaily.
Kubby, who has used marijuana for three decades to treat a fatal and incurable form of adrenal cancer, was incarcerated Jan. 27, following his arrest the evening before at San Francisco International Airport when his flight arrived from Vancouver, B.C.
In a surprise move by county officials, Kubby was released from custody March 6, having served 40 days of the 120-day sentence handed down in 2001 for possession of a psychedelic mushroom stem and a couple of peyote buttons seized during a raid by sheriff deputies on his home near Lake Tahoe in January 1999. His medi-pot garden of marijuana plants – the reason for the bust – was also confiscated, but prosecutors were unable to convince the jury that Kubby was growing these for sale to compassion clubs rather than for legal personal use.
The release ended his sentence for drug possession, but Kubby still faced a possible three years in state prison for violating his probation. He and his counsel hoped the prosecutor would drop any charges or that a judge would dismiss them.
Christopher Cattran, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted Kubby on the marijuana and drug possession charges six years ago, still has control of the case and was pressing for a 240-day sentence. But during a closed-door session between attorneys for the two sides, Cattran agreed to a recommendation by the Probation Department and asked for 90 days' home detention. Kubby says even that would be too long.
"I told the judge that if I have to sit around somewhere for three months, instead of being able to be out and earning a living to take care of my family, I'd just as soon go to jail," he said.
McElhany apparently not only agreed, he knocked 30 days off – reducing the time from 90 to 60 days. If overcrowding at the jail continues and Kubby accumulates good behavior credits, it's possible he'll be out in as few as 30 or even 20 days.
"There are no guarantees that'll happen," Kubby said. "But 60 days are better than 90; and a lot better than the 240 they started out at."
Cattran told the Sacramento Bee that he feels a 60-day term for probation violation is "a little light," adding that Kubby was placed on three years' probation before going to Canada.
"I believe there should be a just sentence for what he did – he was gone for five years," he complained.
Kubby suffers from locally recurrent and metastatic pheochromocytoma, a cancer of the inner core of the adrenal gland that stimulates overproduction of a group of hormones called catecholemines, which include epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine. The constant overproduction causes episodes of soaring blood pressure, resulting in blinding headaches, strokes and even cardiac arrest. There is no cure for this rare but deadly cancer. Patients diagnosed with it can expect to live at most 10 years.
By the time of his 2000 trial on pot-selling charges, Kubby had survived over 23 years using marijuana to treat his disease.
It wasn't fear of incarceration as such that drove Kubby into self-imposed exile, but of being forced to forgo his use of marijuana. He was afraid – and doctors who examined him agreed – that without cannabis, the cancer he'd managed to keep in check for so many years would likely reassert itself and spread quickly to his heart, brain and other vital organs.
"I believed my life was on the line," he said.
Top cancer specialists who examined and treated him at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1998, and later at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver, backed Kubby's assessment and warned that if deprived of marijuana he could die very quickly. They urged authorities to allow him access to cannabis in some form. Their requests were ignored.
New use for Marinol
While in jail Kubby will be allowed to use Marinol (dronabinol), as he was during his recent stay.
Marinol is a legal, synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, one of the most active ingredients in marijuana. It is prescribed to control the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, but not recognized or prescribed as a blood pressure medication.
Fortunately, Kubby found it worked for him to curb the potentially lethal spikes in blood pressure, and thinks it might help others.
"I have several tumors that are producing catecholomines," he explained. "But when I take marijuana or Marinol it interferes with the production by those tumors of the catecholomines.
"So this is a new use for [Marinol]. And that's very, very significant because there's no other medicine that controls blood pressure at the source, at the production of catecholomines. Every other medicine interferes with the effects of the catecholomines – through alpha blockers, beta blockers, channel blockers, things like that. Besides cannabis, only Marinol – at least in my case – has been able to actually control the amount of catecholomines produced.
"That is a brand-new kind of blood pressure medication that's working at the source," he said.
Documents and information regarding the Kubby case are posted at www.kubby.com.