Supporters flock as Kubby appears in court

January 31, 2006

Penne Usher, Auburn Journal

Incarcerated medical-marijuana activist Steve Kubby slowly entered an Auburn courtroom Tuesday afternoon and took his seat next to other inmates as he smiled to a crowd of supporters in the audience.

Kubby, 58, was in court with his attorney Bill McPike for arraignment on a charge of violation of probation after his arrest Thursday in San Francisco.

Kubby's attorney entered a plea of "not guilty" on behalf of his client. He said outside the courtroom that he will ask the court for alternative sentencing.

"Michele (Kubby) is relocating (from Canada) to Marin County and we're going to motion for house arrest," McPike said. "I have no idea (if it will be granted)."

Chris Cattran, deputy district attorney for Placer County, said outside the courtroom that house arrest was offered to Kubby after his 2000 conviction for possession of mescaline and psilocybin.

"He was given the option of house arrest, but chose to flee," Cattran said.

At this point it is not clear if additional charges will be brought against Kubby, who began serving his 120-day sentence Friday.

Although he appeared to weigh less than he did when his booking photo was taken, Kubby looked pleased that the courtroom was nearly filled to capacity with those wanting to wish him well, many who had never met the former gubernatorial candidate and co-author of Prop. 215, California's Compassionate Use Act.

Clark Sullivan, 45, of San Francisco and the Hemp Evolution Web site, said he came to Auburn, as did about 30 others, to champion Kubby's reported need for medical marijuana.

"I'm an advocate for a lot of medical marijuana users and don't always know who they are," Sullivan said. "I'm here to support Steve and to demand that the Placer County authorities allow him to use medical cannabis as his doctor has prescribed."

In light of the attention the case has received and the number of medical-marijuana activists expected, Placer County Sheriff's Department added deputies outside the jail facility, courtroom and inside during the brief proceeding.

Members of the Compassionate, Hemp Evolution and other medical marijuana advocates held signs in front of the jail Tuesday that read "Healing is not a crime, free Steve Kubby, Don't jail the Ill," and "Stop terrorizing patients."

Many voiced their concern that without his daily doses of marijuana, Kubby will not survive his jail time.

Kubby contends he must have marijuana daily in order to survive and stave off the effects of a rare form of adrenal cancer. He points out a Canadian doctor who agrees with him, but a UC Davis Cancer specialist has said there is no scientific evidence to support Kubby's claim that marijuana is keeping him alive.

To the Kubby faithful, it's a life-or-death situation.

"They are going to let him die in there," said Kubby supporter Essie Mormen, of San Francisco.

Jail officials are forbidden to answer direct medical questions, but have said Kubby is receiving medical treatment as necessary and is being cared for as all inmates are.

Kubby is scheduled to appear at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Dept. 13 of Placer County Superior Court.

Michele Kubby was not in the courtroom for Tuesday's appearance.

The Kubby family had been seeking to stay in Canada, however, the Canadian Border Services rejected the family's bid for protection Dec. 9 and ordered them out of the country.

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