NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- December 11, 2003

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- December 11, 2003
Posted by CN Staff on December 11, 2003 at 17:59:32 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
 American Medical Marijuana Refugee Ordered To Return To United States - Immigration Board Recognizes Pot To Be "Best Treatment Available," But Rejects Patient's Asylum Request December 11, 2003 - Vancouver, BC, CanadaVancouver, British Columbia: The Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board this week denied refugee status to American Steve Kubby and his family, and ordered their return to California where Kubby is expected to be sentenced to four months in jail for drug-related charges. Kubby has said he will appeal the ruling.
He and his wife Michelle and two children will be allowed to remain in the country while awaiting their appeal.Kubby fled to Canada in 2001 rather than serve time in jail, where he would be denied access to medicinal marijuana, which he requires to treat symptoms of a rare, life-threatening form of adrenal cancer known as pheochromocytoma. Kubby was diagnosed in 1968 with the disease - which he's managed since the early 1980s exclusively by smoking cannabis - and given six months to live. (Life expectancy of a person with pheochromocytoma is typically three to five years.) Today Kubby is recognized as one of the longest living survivors of the disease.Though the Board recognized that "marijuana continues to be the best treatment available to Mr. Kubby," and that he could potentially suffer a heart attack or stroke without cannabis, it nevertheless ruled, "The claimant is not a person in need of protection in that his removal to the United States would not subject him personally to a risk to his life."The Board based this decision, in part, on the premise that Kubby would likely have access to medicinal marijuana while in jail. However, California law does not compel the state to allow inmates access to medical cannabis, stating: "Nothing in this article shall require any accommodation of any medical use of marijuana ... on the property or premises of any jail, correctional facility, or other type of penal institution in which prisoners reside or persons under arrest are detained."While living in Canada, Kubby had been one of fewer than 600 individuals to receive a federal exemption from Health Canada to legally cultivate and use pot for medical purposes.NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre called the Refugee Board's decision unfortunate and puzzling considering the government's prior acknowledgement of Kubby's medical need to use cannabis. "This decision makes little sense in light of the fact that the Canadian government has already approved Steve Kubby's medical use of marijuana by granting him a special exemption from prosecution," he said."Why they couldn't extend that same thinking to his asylum request seeking protection for his health from America's policy of strict marijuana law enforcement is puzzling. This decision does not bode well for the other Americans who have sought refuge status in Canada for their physician-sanctioned use of medical marijuana."Since 1989, the Immigration and Refugee Board has heard nearly 1,000 refugee cases from the United States, including 268 pending cases. So far, none of those individuals have been granted asylum.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. Full text of the Immigration and Refugee Board's ruling is available online at: Activist Fights To Stay in Canada User of Marijuana Denied Refugee Status User's Refugee Bid Is Rejected Loses Bid To Stay in Canada Not Always Greener On The Other Side Pot Decriminalization Would Save Virginia $43 Million Per Year, Study Says December 11, 2003 - Fairfax, VA, USAFairfax, VA: Marijuana possession offenses cost Virginia taxpayers a combined $43.4 million per year for arrests and prosecution - a total that accounts for more than five percent of local law enforcement budgets, according to a new study by the George Mason University Center for Regional Policy Analysis."The cost of marijuana possession arrests diverts police resources from the investigation and prosecution of other crimes viewed with more severity by criminal justice officials," authors determined. "[Also,] the cost of marijuana possession arrests are unevenly distributed throughout the state due to differences in local arrest rates and local law enforcement budgets."As a result, authors of the report recommend reclassifying first-time marijuana possession to a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by a fine and no jail time. In twelve states - Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon - the possession and use of small amounts of pot is no longer punishable by a criminal arrest and/or jail time.Reclassifying marijuana possession offenses "will increase equity in sentencing, provide for more efficient use of state and local criminal justice funds, and reduce the introduction of young Virginians to the correctional system," authors concluded.According to the study, police arrested 11,384 Virginians on marijuana possession charges in 2001 at an average cost of $3,003. Among those arrested, 64 percent of arrestees were under age 25.A similar state study released by Boston University in November estimated that the decriminalization of marijuana in Massachusetts would produce an annual savings in law enforcement resources of approximately $24.3 million annually."At a time when most state government's are facing severe budget crises, it is highly appropriate for legislators to give strong consideration to the idea of decriminalizing marijuana," NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. Full text of the George Mason University study, entitled "Estimation of the Budgetary Costs of Marijuana Possession Arrests In the Commonwealth of Virginia," is available online at:'s "Marijuana Decriminalization Talking Points" are available online at NORML's website at: Push for Change in Marijuana Law NORML Foundation (DC)Published: December 11, 2003Copyright: 2003 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- Dec. 04, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- Nov. 26, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- Nov. 20, 2003
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on December 13, 2003 at 10:30:13 PT
E-Mail News from Michele Kubby
We're very grateful to NORML for pointing out that despite the loss on the refugee issue, we won an important concession when the Refugee Board ruled that cannabis is the "best treatment available."This admission that cannabis is the "best treatment available" is historic. Never before in our case or in any others that we know of has an official made such a sweeping statement.For the first time ever, a sovereign country has not only agreed that medical marijuana is the "best treatment available", but that medical marijuana patients deserve protection.Where Paulah Dauns got it wrong is looking through her rose colored glasses and believing that the US police and authorities would do the right thing. If you assume that the authorities really want to do the right thing, only then can you arrive at the decision she reached - that Steve would not be allowed to die and would receive his medicine.Paulah Dauns, and all of the judges we have encountered before her, just refuse to believe that the criminal justice system in the United States has become such a miserable failure. Even when former US prosecutor and sitting Judge, James Gray testified that it was unsafe for Steve to return because the criminal justice system is so broken in the US, Paulah Dauns refused to believe his testimony. We're convinced we will win on appeal, once we've been given more of a chance to prove that our concerns about corrupt law enforcement and courts are presented.Yesterday, I spoke to officials at the Refugee Board as well as Canadian Immigration and they were very very helpful and clearly anxious to see this get resolved. As one Immigration official put it, "We know you are a high profile case." There's nothing like a letter writing campaign to get officials to change their tune. Thanks to all of you for helping us.Michele
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Comment #7 posted by gloovins on December 13, 2003 at 04:10:56 PT
"The claimant is not a person in need of protection in that his removal to the United States would not subject him personally to a risk to his life."Ok then why did your Health Canada allow him to grow 100+ plants? Because of his rare, unfortunate disease and your medical branch of the government of Canada didn't want blood on their hands and are truly compassionate, understanding professionals.Now, your Refugee Judical branch is going to strip him of this right to cultivate cannabis (his medicine THAT KEEPS HIM ALIVE) and ship him back to the US WHERE HE HAS A FELONY RAP WAITING AND A 6 MONTH PRISON SENTENCE WAITING FOR HIM -- THE PLACER CO DA WANTS TO KILL HIM, for their own political saving of face.I am ashamed more and more each day to live in this country, the USA, and I thought Canada was so much more rational....I was wrong. All I can say is a prayer for the Kubby's and hope he wins on appeal. Canada, will you please wake up and flex your soverign muscles and say: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH...STEVE AND HIS FAMILY CAN STAY HERE, AND AVOID THE EVIL U.S. Government and its ugly cousin, THE DEAth machine...JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL...
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Comment #6 posted by jose melendez on December 12, 2003 at 17:18:15 PT
Dear Arnold,
Please terminate prohibition.Thanks.legalize
hey, it works in AARP commercials!
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Comment #5 posted by Max Flowers on December 12, 2003 at 16:31:40 PT
I just sent an email to the Governor
And it went a little somethin' like this:To: governor
Subject: Ascertaining your position on the medical cannabis issueDear Governor Schwarzenegger,Congratulations on your victory and inauguration. I have been looking forward to asking you a question about your position on an issue of critical importance in California, that of medical cannabis and the ongoing harassment of sick folks by the federal government.As a medical cannabis user myself, I have a strong interest in every aspect of this issue. We need you as our governor to be strong enough to tell John Ashcroft and the DEA and frankly, the entire Bush Administration that Californians will not tolerate any more persecution and thuggery by federal agents who rob sick Californians of their legal herbal medicine and then sometimes don't even file charges, just to intimidate. Californians created Proposition 215 in 1996 and since then we have not yet had a governor who will face the issue head on and deal with it. One of my concerns is that as a Republican you may try to find some diplomatic way to harmonize with the Bush administration on this issue, but that won't be possible, I fear, since they have made it clear that they have zero willingness to recognize our state's rights in this. They have only one mode of response on this issue and that is one of intimidation and domination. We need you to be the one who will finally stand up to this federal bullying and put a stop to it. Moreover, it is your duty as governor to do so, as I'm sure you are aware.On a related matter, I would like to ask you to consider granting a pardon to Steve Kubby, the medical cannabis refugee who is fighting for asylum in Canada. Kubby has a rare adrenal cancer which is held at bay by cannabis. If he is returned to California to face sentence in his case, they will lock him up and deny him the medicine that is keeping him alive, which will in all likelihood kill him. In my book, that is cruel and unusual punishment, and barbaric. The actual California charges this gentle family man faces are petty and vindictive (they concern possession of very small amounts of psilocybian mushrooms and peyote found when a raid targeting cannabis plants failed to find any) and if you saw to it that he could return to California without fearing incarceration (and almost certain death), it would be a very enlightened, progressive and compassionate move on your part. If I may say so, it would instantly endear you to a whole new (and huge!) segment of your constituency who as yet have not figured out whether you truly stand with us. Mr. Kubby can be reached, and more information obtained, through www.kubby.comI wait optimistically for your response, which I hope will clarify how strongly you will defend ill Californians' right to self-medicate with cannabis from the federal attacks we've been enduring for too long now.Sincerely,
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Comment #4 posted by Breeze on December 12, 2003 at 09:07:00 PT:
Hawaian Religion
I saw this religion on the web a few weeks ago, but did not think that it would be seen as legit or helpful in a case that deals with the subject.
Does it really help to be a registered member of this church? ANd if so, exactly how?
If so, I will join, I am currently without a religion, and this is one that would seem to be in align with my beliefs.
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Comment #3 posted by Rev Jonathan Adler on December 11, 2003 at 22:05:07 PT:
It's All Messed Up!
The Judicial system is suffering badly from selective justice. They know there is medical benefit and they are aware of the good things about cannabis. They are giving out 300 pre-rolled joints a month to the surviving 7 patients the Feds supply. They watch the states flex their independence on medical marijuana and see them loosing control of the masses. That's what it has always been about anyway. Control. Marijuana porvides clarity and insight into issues about freedom, liberty, independence and even God!
It was historic in 2002 when I was granted a motion to return one ounce of high grade cannabis (White Rhino)
by our local 3rd Circuit Court, setting a precedent nationally. I was subsequently jailed for 6 months for having an ounce of marijuana in another case that they delayed for 4 years until I was running for Governor? One Judge had to be wrong. My appeal should straighten that out.
I suggest we all share the knowledge of our freedom to choose. Religion has it's benefits.
Hawaii Medical Marijuana Institute
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on December 11, 2003 at 20:44:41 PT
Colorado vs. the Feds. in Steamboat update.
(coming soon to the MAP archive)US CO: U.S. attorney, DEA looking into ruling 11 Dec. 2003
Source: Steamboat Pilot & Today, The (CO) U.S. attorney, DEA looking into ruling
Routt county medicinal marijuana case being reviewed By Susan Bacon, Pilot & Today Staff Thursday, December 11, 2003 A Routt County judge's order that 2 ounces of marijuana and growing equipment should be returned to a man who uses it for medicinal purposes is being reviewed by the Colorado U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.Jeff Dorschner, spokesperson for the Colorado U.S. Attorney's Office, said Wednesday that the office plans to determine a course of action within 21 days, the timeframe by which the return of the marijuana and equipment has been ordered."We're reviewing the judge's order; we're consulting with the DEA and we'll, within the specified time, determine our next steps," Dorschner said.Dorschner's comments came after Routt County Judge James Garrecht ruled Monday that Hayden resident Don Nord, 57, should have the drugs and growing equipment that were seized during a house search in mid-October returned to him. Dan Reuter, a field agent and spokesperson for the Denver field office of the DEA, said that he does not know of any instance in which the DEA has returned an illegal controlled substance.The case has highlighted a conflict between federal and state law. Under federal law, marijuana is an illegal drug for everyone, but under Colorado law, people with certain medical conditions can grow and use the drug."This is an issue that's got to be resolved at some point," Reuter said.Colorado is one of nine states that allows medicinal marijuana use. Nord, who has battled cancer and diabetes and suffers from extreme pain, is registered with the state's Medical Marijuana Registry program.The marijuana and growing equipment were obtained during a search in mid-October by GRAMNET, the Grand, Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team, which is a federal task force.Criminal drug possession charges were filed against Nord but were dismissed by Garrecht because the ticket was filed late. Nord's attorney, Kristopher Hammond, said he was happy with the judge's decision, but that he and his client might pursue action to get compensation for the three marijuana plants that were taken during the search and have been presumed dead.The state law requires that if drugs and growing equipment are taken during a search and no charges are pressed, the drugs and equipment must be taken care of until further order of the court."They're supposed to take care of the plants, under our constitution, and they pulled them up from the ground," Hammond said. "They destroyed my client's marijuana plants. I think he needs to be compensated for that violation."Hammond said he couldn't guess whether an appeal would be requested or if federal agencies would try to get a new ruling."We're breaking new ground here," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen."Deputy District Attorney Marc Guerette, who represented the people of Colorado and so GRAMNET, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He said Monday that he did not know whether his office would pursue an appeal.4200000!And for anyone who is just dropping by,& haven't heard: Democratic Presidential nominee, Dennis Kucinich, put in writing that as PRESIDENT He WILL: 
"DECRIMINALIZE MARIJUANA" -"in favor of a drug policy that sets reasonable boundaries for marijuana use by establishing guidelines similar to those already in place for alcohol."
(POSTED ON His website!) A President Kucinich would end this conflict.
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Comment #1 posted by jose melendez on December 11, 2003 at 18:14:26 PT
links in prohibitionist cannabis control systems constantly form. These cracks take different shapes in different countries, reflecting the diversity of political, social and cultural conditions. As clinical trials get started in the United Kingdom, as more Australian states lower penalties for personal possession and use, and as more continental European countries choose not to enforce criminal sanctions for personal possession, alternative ways of regulating cannabis will continue to develop. Whether individual governments choose to play a role in the drug's responsible regulation remains to be seen. Special Message from Alliance Director, Ethan Nadelmann            
            I am writing this in anger.  I'm angry at the waste, the cruelty, the human rights abuses, and the mean-spiritedness that mark the current drug crusade of Attorney General John Ashcroft, drug czar John Walters, and others of their ilk, both Democrat and Republican.And I am angry in part because I know there is a better way.  I have seen it for myself.  Just last month, some of the best minds in drug policy gathered for-snip
Treason: Prohibitionists aid and comfort enemy
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