HIGH OFFICE FOR MEDICINAL POT USER?

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The420Guy

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Pubdate: Sat, 01 Jul 2000
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Address: Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053
Fax: (213) 237-4712

Author: Jaimee Rose, Times Staff Writer

HIGH OFFICE FOR MEDICINAL POT USER?

Libertarian Vice Presidential Hopeful Treats Cancer With Marijuana--and Awaits Trial On
Drug Charges.

Laguna Beach resident Steve Kubby is running for a spot in the White House, while the
government is trying to find him a spot in jail.

Kubby is seeking the vice presidential nomination at the Libertarian Party national convention
in Anaheim this weekend, and authorities in Placer County are prosecuting him for alleged
possession of marijuana with the intent to sell.

Kubby has adrenal cancer and maintains that marijuana is keeping him alive. He says he
takes the drug on the advice of a doctor.

However, Placer County officials say he was growing more than enough for medicinal
purposes when they arrested him and his wife in January 1999, and that they'll prove it during
the Aug. 15 trial.

Meanwhile, Kubby, dressed in a suit, was racing around the Anaheim Marriott hotel Friday
with his political posse in tow, shaking hands and talking ideology on the radio. He's
celebrating a cornerstone of American law: "innocent until proved guilty."

Even his prosecutors can't complain.

"It's a free country," says Christopher Cattran, Placer County deputy district attorney. "It's
America. He's entitled to do it."

Still, Kubby, 53, is up against a pile of can'ts.

He can't, for example, campaign for office outside California. Medical marijuana is illegal
outside the state, and he says doctors believe he can't go without treatment. He says he can't
really take his medicine in public because it's hard to explain that the drug is his lifeline. He
even carries his 3-inch joints in an old Vitamin E bottle.

And now that he's moved from his home in Placer County to Laguna Beach, he says he can't
grow the drug anymore for fear of being arrested, even though he's using it as medicine. And
since he's facing an expensive trial, he says he can't really afford to buy it.

However, these obstacles are making Kubby and his cause popular with the nearly 1,000
Libertarian delegates who descended upon Orange County on Friday for their annual
convention. Members of a party struggling for a strong place in national politics, they say he's
getting one of their pet issues in the news.

"One of [our] biggest issues is visibility," said John Turcotte, a delegate from Georgia.
"[Kubby] is out in front of the public all the time; he's a well-known name."

Kubby ran for governor of California in 1998. He says he'll run again in two years if he
doesn't make it to Washington. He was a big force in the 1996 passage of Proposition 215,
an initiative that allows use of medical marijuana in California.

He says he knows his campaign is gaining momentum from his legal problems.

"Nothing like some criminal indictments" to get attention, he said. "If you want to be on the
front pages, you've got to be on the front lines."

Kubby announced his candidacy June 21, after the death of fellow Libertarian activist and
friend Peter McWilliams. Kubby said McWilliams died because he was denied medical
marijuana that could have saved him. There was talk of McWilliams going for the vice
presidential nomination, and Kubby says he's running in tribute to McWilliams and his cause.

"I believe I will be the tail that wags the dog [and] bring discussion to these issues," he said.
But, he added, "I don't expect to win."
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