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Pubdate: Wed, 6 Sept 2000
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2000 The Auburn Journal
Contact: Jessica Towhey <jessicat@goldcountrymedia.com>
Address: 1030 High St., Auburn, CA 95603
Author: Jessica R. Towhey, Journal Staff Writer
Phone: (530) 885-6585, ext. 143
Note: This story also ran prominently on KCRA TV, the largest station in
Northern California, KOVR TV and Fox News.

D.A. says they were growing the 265 plants for profit

By Jessica R. Towhey, Journal Staff Writer

A high-profile marijuana trial began in earnest Wednesday morning as openin=
arguments painted the case facing a former gubernatorial candidate and his
wife as either a for-possession drug matter or political persecution.
Michele and Steven Kubby, the 1998 Libertarian candidate for governor, face
a combined 19 counts of illegal drug possession, cultivation of marijuana
for sale and possession of paraphernalia. The Kubbys were arrested Jan. 19,
1999 at their Olympic Valley home in Squaw Valley following a six-month
investigation by the North Lake Tahoe Narcotics Task Force.

In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney explained how the task
force, a joint endeavor of several law enforcement agencies, came to suspec=
the Kubbys of cultivating marijuana for sale.

"Recreational drugs and drug dealing =AD that's what this case is about," he

According to Cattran, an anonymous letter initiated the investigation that
included searches of the Kubbys' garbage and nighttime surveillance. It
ended with their arrest, and the seizure of 265 plants, computer hardware
that revealed accounting records showing an influx of $103,000 into personal
bank accounts and accounting memos indicating San Francisco and Oakland
accounts for the money.

Cattran, who spoke for about 20 minutes, described for the 12 jurors and
five alternates the elaborate grow operation the Kubbys had in place that
included a main room with 107 flowering plants whose height reached between
3 feet and 4 feet.

But defense attorney J. David Nick, who represents Michele Kubby, said the
grow operation had to be sophisticated since perfect conditions of
temperature, humidity and light are required to grow marijuana.

Additionally, Nick said Kubby, who smokes nearly 12 pounds of marijuana a
year, wound up throwing away roughly 80 percent of the crop since only the
female plants produce buds, which are required for use.

In touching upon the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which Cattran referred
to as a "good law in some circumstances," the prosecutor stated the Kubbys
overstepped the bounds of the law by how much marijuana they cultivated.
But Nick, in disputing the prosecution's case, said the illicit drugs seize=
act as a lifeline for Steven Kubby. During his one-hour-and-fifteen minute
opening statement, Placer County Superior Court Judge John L. Cosgrove
sustained seven of nine objections made by Cattran, who said Nick was
presenting arguments.

"We believe this case is an attempt to punish Mr. Kubby for his political
activity," Nick said.

Kubby, suffers from a rare form of adrenal cancer, was instrumental in the
success of the Compassionate Use Act. He called Kubby as "messiah" for
medical marijuana patients who feel they are threatened and under attack by
law enforcement.

Furthermore, Nick called the narcotics task force investigation into
question since officers never used a confidential information to attempt a
drug purchase from the Kubbys. Confidential informants are often used in
such cases, he said.

The trial continues at 9:30 a.m. today in Department 10 at the DeWitt
Center. After today, however, court will recess until October due to
vacations scheduled beforehand.