DrugSense Weekly, March 9, 2001 #190

DrugSense Weekly, March 9, 2001 #190
Posted by FoM on March 09, 2001 at 14:08:27 PT
The Drug War Takes Another Hit
Source: DrugSense
In the California Gold Rush town of Auburn the curtain has finally rung down on a remarkable criminal trial that has raised some disturbing questions about the government's long-running war on marijuana. Steve Kubby, Libertarian candidate for governor in 1998, was arrested in January of 1999 for growing too many marijuana plants. The key phrase here is "too many." Kubby is allowed to grow "some" marijuana because California Proposition 215 - which he campaigned for - permits medical use of the weed to qualified patients, and if anybody is qualified it would be Steve Kubby.
Diagnosed back in the 1970s with a rare form of adrenal cancer, Kubby was treated by Dr. Vincent DeQuattro of U.S.C., a leading authority on the disease. DeQuattro did what he could -- surgery, chemo, radiation -- but it was a delaying action. The cancer -- malignant pheochromocytoma - is not fatal in itself but it causes the adrenal glands to overwork, dramatically boosting blood pressure. You can drop dead of a heart attack or a stroke at any moment. Nobody lives longer than five years.Dr. DeQuattro assumed Kubby had passed on long ago, then he opened the 1998 California voter's guide and there was his former patient running for governor. Amazed, the doctor tracked him down and asked him what miracle had granted him this reprieve."Marijuana," said Kubby. It seems he had abandoned the traditional treatment and switched to cannabis, smoking some 10 grams a day for the last 15 years. Dr. DeQuattro's first reaction was to put Steve Kubby under a microscope. At the U.S.C. medical center he ran Kubby through an exhaustive two-week work-up. While the doctor is no fan of marijuana -- he had never recommended it -- the results convinced him that marijuana was somehow keeping Kubby alive.At issue in the Auburn trial was the 200+ plants the deputies found in Kubby's basement - far too many for personal use said prosecutor Chris Cattran. But Cattran couldn't come up with credible evidence of commercial activity, and several defense experts testified that at Kubby's rate of consumption, his indoor garden was about right. So the prosecutors began exploring another line of attack  the assumption that Mr. Kubby had somehow undergone a spontaneous remission and he was simply smoking reefer to get high.To counter this charge, Kubby's lawyer called Dr. DeQuattro to the stand. In the cramped little Auburn courtroom, DeQuattro told the jury that Kubby's tumors are clearly visible on the x-rays but, for reasons he can't explain, the disease is apparently stabilized. What's more, the side-effects of smoking marijuana day and night for 15 years appear to be zero. DeQuattro said his team tested Kubby for cognitive function before and after smoking and found his mind, memory and motor skills unimpaired. But the discovery that really jolted them was the lungs. Here they had a subject who admittedly smoked a couple hundred joints a month for 15 years -- a perfect opportunity to measure the damage from chronic high level consumption  but they couldn't find any. "His respiratory functions are the same as for someone who never smoked at all." After deliberating for several days the jury hung 11-to-1 in favor of acquittal. Last week prosecutor Cattran threw in the towel. There will not be a retrial.Despite marijuana's dramatic impact on Kubby, Dr. DeQuattro is not ready to recommend it to his other patients until he finds out how it works.Unfortunately, that information is hard to come by. Washington has financed plenty of marijuana research -- always looking for negative effects. Every other line of inquiry was squelched. The first extensive studies of marijuana's effectiveness will not get underway until later this year -- decades late.Now, thanks to anecdotal evidence like that unfolding up in Auburn, we are beginning to learn that marijuana may be something more than just a palliative. There is growing evidence here and abroad that this ubiquitous plant may in fact be a powerful healing agent with extensive and unknown applications. If it turns out to be a miracle drug instead of the devil weed, then the politicians who managed to thwart this research for the last thirty years will have some explaining to do.Top Story: Mike Gray, Author of Drug Crazy, Notes Medical Implications of Kubby Case. Special to MarijuanaNews.comSubmitted by Richard Cowan Gray, Chairman of Common Sense for Drug Policy, is the author of Drug Crazy: How We Got Into This Mess and How We Can Get Out: Mike GrayContact:  hmgray Click the link to read all of DrugSense Weekly's News Bulletin.DrugSense Weekly March 9, 2001 #190 MapInc. Archives
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