U.S. Pot Advocate Seeks Refugee Status in Canada
Steven Kubby Claims He is Being Persecuted in California
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Published: Thursday, March 6, 2003
Copyright: 2003 Vancouver Sun
Contact: [email protected]
A U.S. citizen who claims he is being persecuted in California for his use and advocacy of medicinal marijuana appeared on his own behalf Wednesday at a hearing in which he is seeking refugee status in Canada.
Steven Kubby told the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board that state law enforcement officials conspired to arrest him and other sick people who have a legal right to marijuana.
But Canadian Alliance MP Randy White, who successfully applied to make Kubby's hearing public, said Kubby is using the wrong process to make his case against U.S. drug laws.
"He's suggesting he's being persecuted in the U.S. because of their drug laws, but of course there is no such thing as a refugee from the U.S.," White said in an interview. "An individual who disagrees with any law in the States ought not to be applying through our refugee system."
Kubby, 56, a Sechelt resident and host of a Pot-TV Web site, maintains he has to smoke large quantities of marijuana to control symptoms of adrenal cancer, a rare cancer that generates adrenaline rushes that trigger blood pressure spikes, rapid heartbeat, severe headaches and chest pains.
Kubby made frequent trips outside the board's office at Library Square to smoke marijuana as the hearing, which was supposed to be public, was held in private all morning.
Melissa Anderson, communications adviser to the board, said "housekeeping matters" were being discussed before the hearing could start.
According to Kubby, who had access to those proceedings, much of the wrangling was about the admissibility of U.S. documents that one of his witnesses, a U.S. writer, wanted to present to the one-person tribunal.
The documents, Kubby said, show that U.S. prosecutors and other law enforcement officials are "conspiring illegally to undercut the law" -- a voter-supported proposition that gave some Californians legal access to marijuana.
In California, Kubby was charged with conspiracy to traffic in marijuana but was convicted only of possessing peyote and a magic mushroom stem.
Last April, Kubby was charged with cultivating marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking after the RCMP seized grow-operation equipment and about 160 plants at his Sechelt home. The charges were later stayed by the Crown, but Kubby was ordered deported.
Pat McCartney, a former city editor of the Auburn Journal, a newspaper in the county near Sacramento where Kubby faced U.S. charges, told reporters outside the hearing that he obtained the documents Kubby spoke of through U.S. freedom of information applications.
McCartney, who said he is now writing a book about the medicinal marijuana controversy, held up a handful of manila folders for TV cameras, saying they contain documents that show the state of California and the U.S. federal government set up working groups to try to overturn Proposition 215, California's six-year-old medical marijuana law.
According the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, people from other countries can receive refugee protection "if you have a well-founded fear of prosecution in your home country, based on your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion."
Another reason would be if a claimant's removal from Canada "would subject you personally to a danger of torture or a risk to your life or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment."
E-Mail Reference: [email protected]
Related Articles & Web Sites:
The Drug War Refugees
Kubby Imigration Hearing - March 5, 2003
Kubby Files with Steve and Michele Kubby
'Pot Refugee' May Be Forced to Leave Canada
U.S. Pot Smoker Seeks Refugee Status
Pot Advocate Claims Conspiracy Against Marijuana
Pot Advocate Seeks Refugee Status in Canada