Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in California: An Interview With Steve Kubby

Activist Steve Kubby, co-author of a new legalization bill for California, at Seattle Hempfest.Activist Steve Kubby, co-author of a new legalization bill for California, at Seattle Hempfest.Steve Kubby is a long-time medical marijuana activist, cancer patient, author, entrepreneur, Libertarian party candidate, and key figure in the drafting and passage of California’s Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in the state in 1996.

Kubby has co-authored a new California cannabis legalization ballot initiative – the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act 2012” initiative – with former Orange County Judge (and LEAP member) James Gray and Jack Herer’s former attorney Bill McPike.

Canadian pot activist David Malmo-Levine, has followed the California cannabis legalization initiative issue closely and was an opponent of Proposition 19, the 2010 ballot initiative to legalize cannabis in California. Some in the cannabis legalization movement have accused Malmo-Levine and other growers and dealers of being “greedy” for favoring the existing California Prop. 215 medical marijuana laws over Prop. 19 legalization, but Malmo-Levine maintains that Prop. 19 would have resulted in most growers and dealers remaining criminals and therefore was not acceptable.

Malmo-Levine has written a history of the origin of the different legalization models here.

Kubby’s new initiative would result in hundreds of thousands of licenses for growing and retailing cannabis to be permitted as currently exists in the California winery industry and is supported by Malmo-Levine and other “Stoners Against Proposition 19”.

Steve Kubby was able to answer a few burning questions on Malmo-Levine’s mind in the following interview for Cannabis Culture:

DAVID MALMO-LEVINE: For the CC audience, could you briefly tell us about the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012” and list a few of the features of the initiative that differentiate it from the 2010 California legalization initiative Prop. 19 and other possible future initiatives such as the “California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative 2012”, the “Repeal Prohibition of Cannabis Act of 2012” and the “Legalization of Marijuana Act of 2012”?

Steve Kubby: The “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012” initiative was written by Jack Herer’s longtime attorney, Bill McPike, who also helped draft the “California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative,” with Jack Herer and Eddy Lepp. I asked Bill to draft a new initiative that featured full repeal, safeguards against the feds and was as simple and easy to understand as possible. Judge James Gray and I teamed up to work with Bill and edit his draft into something that came at the war on cannabis from several different directions.

So there’s a judge’s view, a defense attorney’s view and my own view as a patient and a successful defendant. Everything that we have included in the new initiative is intended to remove cannabis from the state and federal Schedule 1 classification. So far, the CCHHI ignores rescheduling and the “Repeal Prohibition of Cannabis Act of 2012” only addresses state classification. Our initiative orders the California Attorney General, Congress members and Senators to get cannabis rescheduled at the federal level as their highest priority.

DML: Could you also comment on the poll released shortly after Nov. 2nd 2010 that pointed out that 31% of those who voted no on Prop. 19 were supporters of legalization but didn’t like Prop. 19. What do you think was the biggest concern of the “yes legalization, no Prop. 19” folks?

SK: Our initiative name and wording is based upon a key statement that has received 62% approval in polling. That statement is, “We should regulate marijuana like alcohol and keep it from minors.” In contrast, Prop. 19 never polled above 56% and therefore never really had a serious chance of winning.

Furthermore, Prop. 19 attempted to create a business model that clearly favored some over others and was perceived by many growers as an all out economic war that would leave the pioneers in ashes and feed the greedy bottom line of a few major corporations.

Ed Rosenthal and I decided to hold our noses and support Prop. 19, because we were certain it would fail and we wanted it to lose by as little as possible to avoid the media proclaiming that legalization is dead. Unlike Prop. 19, our initiative does not create any privileged business groups, allow any special taxes, or create new crimes, except for cops who violate our law. Those police and public officials who seek to undermine our new act will face $7,500 minimum fines, per instance, without immunity.

DML: My research on the subject of legalization led me to conclude that “who gets to deal” was the most important issue when discussing legalization within the cannabis community during the last 40 years. I also found that until 2009, the “exclusive” model was supported by only governments and cops, while the “inclusive model” has been supported by a vast majority of cannabis activists since the movement began.

SK: That certainly appears to be the case. Folks who have invested their lives in pioneering the cannabis way of life felt betrayed and sold out. This time we are going to shift gears and fight fire with fire. That’s right, this time we will rely upon Judge Jim Gray as our chief proponent and other members of LEAP as proponents to carry a new message to voters that will literally fight fire with fire.

This time we will run a campaign of former drug warriors who have turned against this failed policy and can look California voters, square in the eyes and tell them it is time to repeal these bad laws. We believe that a campaign of fighting fire with fire will be much better received than the approach taken by the Prop. 19 folks to create special taxes and establish a “limited number of licenses” model. Considering that the Orange County Register has already written an editorial of support for our initiative, we believe that such an endorsement from a conservative newspaper in the heart of Southern California shows that we can also win the support of those who voted against 19 for other reasons.

DML: Your initiative guarantees that cannabis will be regulated like alcohol. Will your initiative destroy the “limited number of licenses” model set up in Los Angeles and Oakland” or will there have to be subsequent legal battles required to do that?

SK: The IRS is already hard at work destroying the dispensaries, refusing to allow any business deductions for those who sell controlled substances. In other words, you can’t deduct the cost of buying your cannabis or paying your employees and must pay full tax on all sales. Our initiative will save the dispensaries and permanently end the raids, because we will get cannabis rescheduled. On the other hand, special taxes will be out and any restrictions on licenses will be hotly contested.

DML: Your initiative prevents advertising for cannabis unless it’s within a medical context. Will “replacement therapy” with alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals or caffeine” or “stress, depression, fatigue” be part of that medical context, or will a narrower definition of medical arise within the advertising regulations?

LEAP's Judge James Gray, a co-author and proponent of the "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012".LEAP’s Judge James Gray, a co-author and proponent of the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012”.SK: Judge Gray wants to avoid “glamorizing” cannabis, while still respecting the rights of medical patients and their providers. Since he has donated over a year of his time to campaign for Prop. 19, we believe Judge Gray has an excellent sense of what the voters have as issues. Our team has been careful to listen to Judge Gray and that is what led to the ban on non medical advertising.

Based upon my experiences living in Mendocino after Measure G passed and legalized 25 plants per adult, I can tell you that many people flaunted our new freedom, grew big stinky plants in suburban neighborhoods, flashed their stash and cash in public and succeeded in turning our political allies against us. Ultimately, a new measure was introduced to kill all our new found freedom and it passed. So the lesson here is to avoid situations that could result in a backlash to make cannabis illegal once again. In that context, we feel the advertising ban is a necessary part of transitioning into full legalization.

DML: Assuming the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” is financed well and makes it on the ballot and passes, will there be future battles that California activists will have to win to gain full dignity (and if so what) or is this “total legalization” with nothing more to win?

SK: Yes, it will be total legalization, on the day it passes. Unfortunately, the day after it passes, we will face endless challenges and threats intended to undermine our new freedom and scare people away from exercising that freedom. At that point we will need every activist to join the fight and ensure that police and public officials obey our new law.

DML: What are the financial hurdles that must be overcome by those wishing to support this initiative, and what can be done by the readership of CC to help you out?

SK: We will be rolling out the new campaign at the state convention for the Libertarian Party of California on Friday, April 8, 2012. Within Libertarian circles are people who have written me checks of $10,000 or more. I raised the $500,000 to put Prop. 215 on the ballot and I raised $600,000 for my legal defense fund. I can and will raise the $2 million we will need for this campaign.

Meanwhile there are two ways CC readers can get involved. If they send us a check for $100 or more they will be official founding donors of the campaign. If you are a business and would like to become an official sponsor of the initiative, we have a program that will allow you to piggyback on our media coverage.

DML: I support this initiative because I believe that “regulation like alcohol” allows we in the cannabis community enough dignity to survive the witch-hunt against us and will hopefully prevent any monopolies from arising in cultivation and distribution. Are you having trouble uniting the medical movement and the recreational movement behind your initiative? What does Dennis Peron think of it? What do the Herer folks think of it?

SK: As someone who has been at ground zero in this movement for the past 20 years, I have a keen sense of what is possible here in California and I have the track record to back it up. For example, I recall that some of our fellow activists were extremely reluctant to back 215, because of the cultivation clause. I argued that it was meaningless without the right to grow our own medicine and that cultivation wasn’t that big an issue with voters. In contrast, they were very worried it would prevent the initiative from passing. I even recall them advocating we wait out this election cycle, since it was too late to qualify a less controversial version on the ballot.

Yet during the actual campaign, the issue of cultivation was hardly ever mentioned and was not a significant part of the debate. In fact, our more controversial version received the absolute highest percentages in passing of any initiative since then, all of which have many more restrictions regarding cultivation than 215. So I think folks like Peron and the Jack Herer CCHHI2012 group know my history and respect my work, even if we may not agree on everything.

Visit Steve Kubby’s website to find out more about the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012”.

Comments

11 Comments

  1. Mitch W on

    Wow, I can’t believe buddy said that. Excellent reply, DML.

    Loved the article, and also thanks for helping me find your Obama drug war video.

  2. Robert Griffith on

    We are assaulted and must respond to the Lyme Plague ( see plum island conspiracy theory by Jesse Ventura the former governor of Minnesota ).
    Look at the time date action of the making of marijuana illegal.
    We are surviving a living holocaust.
    Why are we not using the 1946 tort law to make claim for the assault by the government?
    Please please use whats left of your mind and living will while you can.
    March 7, 2011 at 9:31 am
    I believe your first hand knowledge of the degree of inability to respond to reasonable fact has lead to the necessity of a logical conclusion. We have an international problem with the US military facing a human rights violation for war crimes against citizens of many nations as a result of biological war.
    The cannabis community realizes the human rights violations and is focusing on utilizing the united nations human rights efforts to plea the case and facilitate international resolve.

    http://www.thehumansideoflyme.net/
    LYME IS A

    BRAIN DISEASE (neuroborreliosis)
    By Virginia T. Sherr 7-31-05
    Lyme borreliosis is a brain disease as well as a multisystemic disease caused by spirochetal bacteria.* Quite frankly, it is an infection that has been burdened with a thousand inaccurate medical diagnoses. The manner in which the current pandemic of tertiary Lyme disease, neuroborreliosis, has usually been handled— either angrily dismissed or strangely misdiagnosed–throughout the 30 years following its “discovery,” has blemished the historic excellence of modern American Medicine.
    After all the years, neuroborreliosis is still actually considered rare by a majority of physicians, most of whom are spirochetally naïve. Officially tallied patients (the numbers showing a dip down to 19,804 cases in 2004 after flawed reporting styles were instituted), when combined with uncounted cases may approach upward of an annual quarter million new borreliosis infections in the USA alone. And Lyme infections have been verified as present on all but one continent, globally. The disease is more often than not accompanied by several of a half-dozen or so of the other serious tick-borne co-infections that currently have been identified.
    Losses of acuity in the human brain’s visual cortex have been observed as early as 6 hours following the toxic bite of an infected tick. Lyme may persist after too brief a period of treatment or if there has been no treatment, and may result in chronic infections whereupon Lyme borreliosis becomes a potential cause of every symptom in medical and psychiatric lexicons. It is the “Great Imitator” of this Millennium, spirochetal paresis (neuro-syphilis) having been its precursor and its model.
    Chronic or persistent Lyme disease–neuroborreliosis–seldom is identified by the symptoms of its most frequent form—subacute encephalitis–an infected/inflamed brain as well as an infected nervous system. However, this is the form in which it most commonly exists. Unfortunately, the syndrome that is falsely considered typical–a bull’s eye rash, fever, positive Elisa test, and/or a swollen large joint–occurs in fewer then half of proven cases. Instead, Lyme borreliosis confirms itself in subtle to profound neuro-psychiatric symptoms, such as overriding confusion, loss of organizational skills, decreased concentration, memory loss, mood disorders, irritability, and unprovoked rages–to mention just a few. These symptoms can be very obvious to an experienced professional practicing in a Lyme-endemic area. However, cerebral-behavioral symptoms of neuro-Lyme remain invisible to those whose diagnoses are solely based on old-fashioned concepts limited only to the aforesaid doctor-viewed rashes, swollen knees with positive Elisa blood tests.
    Blood tests completed by local labs most frequently show false negatives due to general laboratories’ inadequate understanding of proper diagnostic technique and choices of poor quality spirochetal samples on which to base tests. Of course, insurance companies prefer their negative tests. As mentioned, Lyme can rapidly go from Stage One (Early borreliosis) to Late (Tertiary) Stage disease following attachment of an infected deer tick’s or other vector’s bite so that quick and competent treatment are of the greatest importance. Later, accurate findings by sophisticated laboratories may be helpful, especially if Late Stage symptoms appear many years after the infection.
    Over the years, I have been asked to create a compendium of my published and unpublished works on the subject of Borrelia’s neuropsychiatric epidemic. These literary contributions advocate for correction of medical neglect–the usually inadequate, sometimes cruel, diagnostic and treatment neglect experienced by victims of chronic Lyme borreliosis and its co-infections. I also have had articles published in an effort to attract attention from Organized Medicine—attention badly needed on behalf of a nearly invisible but serious epidemic that is more significant by far than anything this country has experienced since the Spanish Flu of 1918, the causative spirochete being less immediately deadly than was the virus of that epidemic, but deadly, nonetheless, cerebrally.
    Sadly, Organized Medicine has mostly ignored or deserted the field of neuro-Lyme’s immense proportions. The American public rapidly is becoming jaundiced toward doctors’ lack of up-dated knowledge of spirochetal science and, having read the latest (indeed copious) peer-reviewed recent literature for themselves, are turning to other disciplines—even to veterinarians for accurate medical advice on the subject of Lyme disease and its co-infections. Veterinarians are more up to date on the diagnosis and treatment of human Lyme than the “Diagnose-and-treat-by-the-old-Guidelines” types of powerful but passé Academic physicians who cling to outdated medical dogma.
    I have written about the rampant epidemiology of neuro-Lyme disease and its potent co-infections (especially the red cell parasite that causes babesiosis) and the fact that these are being systematically ignored, minimized, or distorted by this Nation’s overseeing Healthcare Agencies. Astoundingly, there are Agencies that, in ignorance or arrogance, may actively persecute the victims of such borrelial, pan-systematic illness, traumatizing parents and children as well as their treating physicians. There are those in authority who sponsor the official separation of children from parents whose only sin is that they persist in seeking help for their ailing children. Tragically, those authorities are empowered to permanently remove sick or partially healed young ones from their devoted families.
    To their everlasting shame, medical authorities have stood by while innocent mothers have been sent to jail for insisting that their children were ill and again have stood by while the parent’s belief was verified by the death of their sick child while under State “care.” The rights of patients and their treating physicians have been trampled by governmental and insurance agencies in ways reminiscent of the era when AIDs was trivialized and its victims spurned as “psychosomatic.” Today’s infected millions worldwide show how wrong they were. The phenomenon of that epidemic is being repeated with the spread of Lyme borreliosis. My writing is an effort to illuminate this dark and now vast expanse of Medicine and to inspire activism and compassion for those patients who are suffering in agony while having to hear caretakers say, “I don’t know what you are worried about–you look just fine–maybe you are just depressed.” Or as one unknowing, dismissive and flippant doctor joked to a frightened patient who came to him for treatment and reassurance, “Well, we all have to die of something, sometime.”

    *Alan G. Barbour, MD: “These tick-borne infections are notable for multiphasic antigenic variation through DNA recombinations in the case of relapsing fever, the occurrence of chronic arthritis in the case of Lyme disease, and invasion of and persistence in the brain in the case of both diseases.”
    http://www.ucihs.uci.edu/microbio/

  3. Anonymous on

    March 7, 2011 at 9:26 am
    We are assaulted and must respond to the Lyme Plague ( see plum island conspiracy theory by Jesse Ventura the former governor of Minnesota ).
    Look at the time date action of the making of marijuana illegal.
    We are surviving a living holocaust.
    Why are we not using the 1946 tort law to make claim for the assault by the government?
    Please please use whats left of your mind and living will while you can.
    March 7, 2011 at 9:31 am
    I believe your first hand knowledge of the degree of inability to respond to reasonable fact has lead to the necessity of a logical conclusion. We have an international problem with the US military facing a human rights violation for war crimes against citizens of many nations as a result of biological war.
    The cannabis community realizes the human rights violations and is focusing on utilizing the united nations human rights efforts to plea the case and facilitate international resolve.

  4. Anonymous on

    March 7, 2011 at 9:26 am
    We are assaulted and must respond to the Lyme Plague ( see plum island conspiracy theory by Jesse Ventura the former governor of Minnesota ).
    Look at the time date action of the making of marijuana illegal.
    We are surviving a living holocaust.
    Why are we not using the 1946 tort law to make claim for the assault by the government?
    Please please use whats left of your mind and living will while you can.
    March 7, 2011 at 9:31 am
    I believe your first hand knowledge of the degree of inability to respond to reasonable fact has lead to the necessity of a logical conclusion. We have an international problem with the US military facing a human rights violation for war crimes against citizens of many nations as a result of biological war.
    The cannabis community realizes the human rights violations and is focusing on utilizing the united nations human rights efforts to plea the case and facilitate international resolve.

  5. David Malmo-Levine on

    “You claim disease that would kill you…..yet your on the slopes you fucking LIAR.”

    Cannabis helps Steve Kubby lead a healthy outdoor lifestyle – without it he’s a mess. The evidence keeps piling up … and you anonymous trolls are allergic to evidence:

    “First off, although you mentioned what Steve Kubby had said about his adrenal gland cancer being fatal without marijuana, you failed to mention the fact that Steve Kubby’s medical doctor has also said that Mr. Kubby would likely die without medicinal cannabis. I believe this is important as it gives a lot of credibility to the point which Mr. Kubby was making.”
    http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v04/n840/a06.html?101

    “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. ”
    http://www.cannabisworldwide.com/canadian04.html

    “Years passed without a visit to an oncologist, Kubby says. Vincent DeQuattro, an expert on hypertension illness who years earlier had treated Kubby at County-USC Medical Center, examined him in 1998 and discovered that lethal levels of adrenal fluids–10 to 20 times normal–were still coursing through Kubby’s system. But, DeQuattro concluded, pot seemed to be somehow blunting or masking its effects.

    The conclusion reached by DeQuattro, who died in August 2001, was echoed this past year by Joseph Conners, a top oncologist at the B.C. Cancer Agency and a professor at the University of British Columbia who examined Kubby at the behest of Canadian immigration officials. He found a large tumor invading the upper abdomen, but concluded that pot’s “most important achievement is normalization of his heart rate, blood pressure and blood volume markedly reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke.” Conners believes that Kubby should be allowed to continue its use, saying, “It is controlling his symptoms at least as effectively as anything I can do.”

    “But when his heart began to race and sweat poured off his face, Kubby didn’t face disbelief from his Canadian jailers. They didn’t accuse him of faking the dry heaves. They called a doctor.”

    http://forum.grasscity.com/general-marijuana-news-around-world/31662-american-medical-marijuana-refugee-ordered-return-united-states.html

    Kubby is a hero – not just for keeping cancer at bay, but for helping all med users in California and around the world. Here’s some more evidence (aside from the kick-ass initiative he helped write) of that:

    http://www.kubby.com/DennisPeronLetter.html

  6. Anonymous on

    Where’s your fucking disease kubby you flake.

    You claim disease that would kill you…..yet your on the slopes you fucking LIAR.

    Kubby the shark…..living off the public dole with no contribution to those who lent you money….when are you going to pay us back…….thief!

  7. Anonymous on

    Where’s your fucking disease kubby you flake.

    You claim disease that would kill you…..yet your on the slopes you fucking LIAR.

    Kubby the shark…..living off the public dole with no contribution to those who lent you money….when are you going to pay us back…….thief!

  8. David Malmo-Levine on

    “Regulation is in fact a more benign form of prohibition because it merely redefines who gets to deal and who does not. The cartel stays.”

    This initiative attempts to create a distribution model similar to the California wine industry model. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is no regulations regarding “who gets to make wine and who does not” in California. Maybe in Saudi Arabia, but the Saudi model isn’t the one being used as a template.

    I believe this model is being used instead of the coffee bean model because more people would vote for it than the coffee bean model – not because cannabis requires as much regulation as alcohol. Call it an incremental step forward that will bring about peace – the loosening of any particular unreasonable restrictions (of which you have yet to point to) can occur after it’s fully legal.

  9. Anonymous on

    Great article! I put my hopes on thisone.

  10. Anonymous on

    There are many people who support legalization but oppose regulation on ehtical grounds. As Pierre Trudeau once said, “The government has no business in the nations greenhouses.” Regulation is in fact a more benign form of prohibition because it merely redefines who gets to deal and who does not. The cartel stays.

  11. Samson on

    This article helped me to better understand why prop 19 failed. And I admit–I was wrong in my initial judgement. I DO NOT want to see Cannabis become another corperate-controlled industry. Especially, if that means taking away the right to posess/grow/distribute/use from those who held their ground. They were–and still are(I hope)–a grassroots movement…not a corperate one.

    Cannabis = freedom

    Corperate = bias control…..I wish not to dillute the first with the second.

    Thanks for helping me develop a more rounded, better perspective