High profile case putting Proposition 215 to the best

By Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer

The question of Steve and Michele Kubby's guilt or innocence on possession-of-marijuana-for-sales charges could go to a Placer County
Superior Court jury as early as today.

Into its fourth month, the Kubby trial ran out of witnesses Wednesday, with
the prosecution resting its case

Jurors arrived for what was anticipated to be a potential day of
cross-examination of retired state Department of Justice special agent Mick
Mollica on estimated marijuana plant yields =AD a key component of the county
District Attorney's Office case. Instead, Michele Kubby defense attorney J.
David Nick and Steven Kubby attorney J. Tony Serra told Judge John Cosgrove
that they had no questions.

The jury was excused for the day, minutes after being seated in court. Take=
n
aback, one juror exclaimed "I drove 45 minutes to get here."

Earlier, some jurors applauded after learning that closing arguments and
juror instructions today could result in deliberations beginning Friday.

"I'd like to give you a high five on that, judge," called out one juror.

"I'll take it too," Cosgrove replied.

The Kubbys were arrested after a January 1999 raid on their rented Olympic
Valley home netted 265 marijuana plants, plus small amounts of hashish,
magic mushroom and peyote. After several stops and starts, their trial
started in September, took a break and then resumed in earnest in October.
The lengthy proceeding has been arduous, with Michele Kubby breaking down i=
n
tears and having to leave the courtroom two weeks ago when it became
apparent the trial would last much longer than expected.

The sheer number of plants alone would have boosted the trial's profile, bu=
t
Steven Kubby's political resume turned it into a cause celebre for medicina=
l
marijuana advocates. Supporters, including many medical marijuana users,
filled many of the seats in the North Auburn courtroom for much of the
trial.

Steve Kubby was a key player in the passage of Proposition 215 four years
ago. In 1998, the Libertarian Party chose him as their gubernatorial
candidate and he hammered both major-party candidates on their medicinal
marijuana positions. Less than three months later, he was behind bars on a
multitude of drug charges.

Steve Kubby's advocacy of medicinal marijuana is more than a political
stance. He has been diagnosed with a rare form of adrenal cancer and
maintained on the witness stand that smoking large amounts of cannabis keep=
s
him alive.

Witnesses for the defense said the Kubby garden would produce less than 4
pounds of pot. Mollica testified that each plant would yield from 3 to 6
ounces.

Like her husband, Michele Kubby possessed a doctor's recommendation to grow
and use marijuana under Prop. 215. Hers was for treatment of irritable bowe=
l
syndrome.

The prosecution's contention is that money received by the Kubbys from
Oakland and San Francisco cannabis buyers clubs was for marijuana sales.
Both Kubbys argued the cash and money orders were gifts to fund Steve
Kubby's medicinal cannabis advocacy role.

After the jury left Wednesday, prosecutor Chris Cattran was unable to have =
a
cannabis club grower's contract with Steve Kubby's name written on it in in=
k
included in evidence. Both Serra and Nick argued the contract had never bee=
n
introduced in evidence during the trial. Cattran said the prosecution had
assumed that it was being included as evidence in a packet of books on drug=
s
confiscated from Steve Kubby's library. Cosgrove said he wouldn't allow the
contract as evidence because there was no opportunity for Kubby to be
questioned on who wrote the name in.

"It's prejudicial and you had your chance =AD I'm not going to allow it as
evidence," Cosgrove said.

The sampling of Kubby's library selected by prosecutors as evidence also
sparked a dispute in the courtroom Wednesday. The books in question were
"LSD Problem Child" and an instructional volume on mushroom growing.

Serra lobbied for more books dealing with marijuana cultivation, saying the
selections weren't representative of the charges. He said he felt both the
peyote and mushroom stem found in the Kubbys' house weren't useable amounts=
.

"This is not an LSD case," he added. "This is tilting the scale to
psychedelics when they're not the main thrust of the case."

Cosgrove decided to look through the pile of books himself and selected
"Hemp for Health" and a marijuana cultivation guide to accompany "The
Psychedelic Source Book," issues of High Times magazine, "The Psychedelic
Experience," "Plants of the Gods," "Psychedelic Macropedia," and other
books.=20

Pubdate: 14 Dec, 2000
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2000 The Auburn Journal
Contact: ajournal@foothill.net
Address: 1030 High St., Auburn, CA 95603
Website: http://www.auburnjournal.com/
Author: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Phone: (530) 885-6585
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