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A refugee from the United States!?

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Pot-smoking cancer patient denied asylum.
Associated Press
Dec. 9, 2003 09:00 AM


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - A man who said he would be persecuted in the United States for smoking marijuana to fight a rare form of cancer has been denied refugee asylum in Canada.

Steve Kubby lacks reasonable grounds to fear cruel and unusual punishment and therefore does not need protection, Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Paulah Dauns ruled Monday.

"There are no substantial grounds to believe that his removal to the United States will subject him personally to a danger of torture," Dawns wrote.

Kubby's wife Michele and their two young daughters were also denied asylum in Canada for the same reasons.

Kubby, 57, formerly of Lake Tahoe, Calif., said he would appeal to the Federal Court of Canada and might hire a lawyer. He did not have a lawyer in the hearing and sometimes was represented by his wife.

The family lives in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast northwest of Vancouver and, without an appeal, would have to leave Canada within 30 days.

"We were just stunned when we saw the decision because it was just completely contrary to the testimony and the science and the evidence that we introduced," Kubby said. "We really think this decision is not only erroneous but a bigoted decision."

Kubby, a Libertarian candidate for governor of California in 1998, was granted permission by Health Canada to grow and smoke pot for medical reasons in August 2002.

Dr. Joseph Connors of the British Columbia Cancer Agency testified during the hearing in April that Kubby would die within four days of not smoking marijuana to relieve the symptoms of adrenal cancer.

Kubby has a large tumor, and Connors said pot helps reduce the resulting overproduction of catecholamine, a hormone which in excess amounts causes hypertension and other medical problems.

He was diagnosed with cancer in 1968 and given only a few years to live but had surgery to remove one tumor, as well as chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

He said his life had been prolonged by marijuana, which he began smoking at the suggestion of a friend.

In 2000, a Placer County Superior Court jury in Auburn, Calif., convicted Kubby of possessing peyote and a psychedelic mushroom and deadlocked with 11 of 12 jurors favoring acquittal on marijuana conspiracy, cultivation and possession charges.

He said three days in jail without pot almost killed him.

"I am really between a rock and a hard place," Kubby said Monday. "If I go back to the United States I'm facing an immediate bailiff's warrant. They'll put me in jail. They're not going to give me marijuana."

California passed Proposition 215 seven years ago to allow medicinal marijuana, but patients who use it are still subject to prosecution in federal court.

"We believe that the United States has become so corrupted by the drug war that they no longer will pay attention even if the voters pass a law," Kubby said. "Under those circumstances and under my life-and-death medical necessity for cannabis, my family, my friends and myself, we're not willing to take that risk anymore.

"These people seem determined to want to put me in a prison cell to see if I'm really telling the truth, that I have life and death medical necessity for medical cannabis."
 
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