Failed pot refugee comes back from Canada to face United States bonds

Medical marijuana crusader Steve Kubby was arrested at San Francisco Airport after spending years as a fugitive in Canada. Kubby was arrested Thursday night on a no-bail warrant and booked into San Mateo County jail, San Francisco police said. There was an emotional farewell earlier Thursday at Vancouver International Airport as Kubby reluctantly returned to the United States to face a jail sentence. Kubby's supporters and family were on hand as he boarded the flight escorted by his American lawyer, who worried he could die without access to pot in jail. "The officials in Canada might be sending him back to a death sentence," said Bill McPike.

Kubby, who ran for governor of California in 1998 under the Libertarian party banner, said U.S. officials don't understand his medicinal need for pot.

"The thought of people having an open animosity towards me, people that want to harm me, that want to bury their mistakes, that's very distressing," he said.

Kubby and his wife Michele had been fighting to stay in Canada almost since they arrived from the United States in 2001.

Kubby attempted to claim Canadian refugee status on the basis of persecution, both for his political opinion and his medicinal use of pot. He said he smokes the drug to alleviate symptoms of a rare cancer called pheochromocytoma, which causes the adrenal glands to produce massive amounts of adrenaline.

Kubby was diagnosed 20 years ago and is believed to be longest-living survivor of the disease.

He credits the use of marijuana for controlling his adrenaline levels and claims the drug is the only thing keeping death at bay.

Kubby was supposed to serve a 120-day sentence for a drug conviction handed down by a court in Placer County, near Sacramento. He faced marijuana charges but they were dropped after he successfully argued medical necessity.

However the court found him guilty of possessing peyote and a magic mushroom stem and ordered him jailed.

In rejecting the refugee claim, Paulah Dauns of the Immigration and Refugee Board agreed marijuana helps to control Kubby's cancer symptoms. But she didn't believe his life was at risk if Kubby was returned to the United States.

"I didn't think the officials from Canada would do that, because from what I understand, Canada has no death penalty," said McPike, who expects Kubby to be arrested when he appears at the Placer County courthouse next Tuesday.

It's not clear whether Kubby will face additional charges for fleeing the country, the lawyer added, reports the AP.


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