PROSECUTION WITNESS QUESTIONS POT GROW FIGURES IN KUBBY TRIAL

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The prosecution in the Steve and Michele Kubby medi-pot trial put one of its key witnesses on the stand Tuesday in an attempt to rebut earlier defense testimony on the average yield from an indoor pot grow.

Despite strenuous objections from defense attorneys J. Tony Serra and J. David Nick, retired state Department of Justice special agent supervisor Mick Mollica was allowed to testify. He said a single marijuana plant, grown indoors, could yield about four ounces of high-potency bud.

The Kubbys were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana for sale after a January 1999 raid on their Olympic Valley home netted 265 plants.

Depending on the size of the plant, amount of light and other factors, the yield would range from three to six ounces, Mollica added.

Earlier in the trial, "Hemp for Health" author Chris Conrad testified as an expert witness for the defense on yields. Conrad, who has also served as a curator of a museum in Amsterdam devoted to marijuana, said the Kubby yield would be about 3182 pounds.

Mollica was also asked to give his opinion of a 1992 University of Mississippi study for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration that estimated the average cannabis plant would produce a half ounce of
marijuana. The study had been used by Conrad as a basis for his estimate of the Kubby crop. Taking into account parts of the plants that were not smokeable, dirt and "assorted trash" found in the evidence bags of pot confiscated from the Kubbys, Conrad had told jurors in the Placer County
Superior Court trial that the indoor grow's yield would be consistent with personal use.

Mollica said that he believed the marijuana grown in Mississippi isn't the same as the marijuana grown in California because of different growing techniques.

"It's just not possible to have the same yield study for this and the plants we chop down in Northern California," Mollica said. "We grow it differently here than they do."

California grows use techniques like deflowering tops to get a bigger unit,
he said.

"Our yields in California are much more," he said.

The Mississippi study used outdoor plantings but indoor gardens provide an "all away better situation for growing," Mollica said.

Mollica said that by controlling the carbon dioxide in the air, indoor growers can increase yields. He added that there is less product indoors than outdoors because of height limitations and subsequently, less yield.

Mollica was blocked by objections from Serra and Nick from giving testimony on the question of whether the Kubby garden was consistent or inconsistent with a medical grow. The two defense attorneys had argued before Judge John Cosgrove that Mollica had no medical expertise.

Prosecutor Chris Cattran attempted to move his line of questioning toward the garden's yield and the amount the Kubbys could smoke, based on Mollica's estimate. Again, objections by Serra and Nick to questions on the size of joints Mollica had seen were sustained by Cosgrove.

The Kubbys contend that they grew marijuana for their own personal, medical use. Both had doctor's recommendations to use marijuana at the time of their arrests Michele Kubby for irritable bowel syndrome, Steve Kubby for a rare form of adrenal cancer. Steve Kubby has been a high-profile medical marijuana advocate. He helped put Proposition 215 the medical marijuana
initiative on the 1996 ballot. In 1998, he was Libertarian Party candidate or governor.

Mollica is expected to be cross-examined by the defense today. Cosgrove told jurors that he is attempting to put the case in their hands by Thursday.


Pubdate: 13 Dec, 2000
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2000 The Auburn Journal
Contact: ajournal@foothill.net
Address: 1030 High St., Auburn, CA 95603
Website: Auburn California News | Auburn Journal
Author: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Phone: (530) 885-6585