Steve Kubby, co-author of California Proposition 215, grows dangerously ill in US custody

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Steve Kubby who was facing extradition from Canada, returned to California, was arrested, and is now in custody in Placer County, California Jail, pending a hearing today. He is a medical cannabis patient who relies on the drug to regulate the symptoms of malignant phenochromocytoma, a cancer of the adrenal gland which can cause the level of adrenaline in his system to fluctuate out of control. If left unregulated, this can result in sudden, fatal heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, and a variety of other conditions.

Kubby was arrested on arrival at San Francisco International Airport Thursday night on behalf of the Placer County Sheriff's Department, having exhausted his extradition appeals in Canada. He was taken to San Mateo County Jail, pending transport to Placer County Jail. While at San Mateo County Jail, he was reportedly denied access to medication and sufficient bedding. On arrival at Placer County Jail, his blood pressure was dangerously high, and so was given Marinol, a THC synthetic.

Communication with Kubby is highly restricted. According to his wife, Michele, Kubby has been placed in solitary confinement, denied access several times to sufficient bedding to keep him warm, and denied access to the cannabis which, according to several experts on his universally fatal condition, has been solely responsible for keeping him alive for decades. The Marinol he is being given partially mitigates his symptoms, but does not completely control them. He now grows dangerously ill.

In particular, he relates how he was ordered by prison medical staff to take beta-blockers for his blood-pressure. Due to the episodic nature of the adrenaline spikes causing the high blood-pressure, according to all of his doctors, the beta-blockers would likely kill him once the spikes dropped. In an interview by phone with journalist Pat McCartney over the weekend, Kubby reported that, for refusing the beta-blockers, he was coerced into signing a waiver absolving the prison of liability, and has since been refused all care, including even Tylenol for pain management.

Activists concerned with medical marijuana, human rights and prison reform will hold a rally at noon today in front of the Placer County Superior Courthouse, where Steve Kubby is scheduled to be arraigned on violation of probation charges.

Kubby was a co-author of California's Compassionate Use Act of 1996, also known as Proposition 215. He fled to Canada in 2001 to escape the possibility of incarceration for an extended period without access to cannabis, a possibility which, in both his and expert medical opinion, would certainly prove fatal.

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