Tonight I was contacted by a colleague I’ve worked with on a number of projects, who is a bit more well-connected in the marijuana activist community than I am. He had gotten a surprising and very frank and heartfelt email from Steve Kubby, saying that Steve was planning to leave not only the entire marijuana activist scene but also the United States as well.
If you’re even tempted to think of him as a “quitter” after reading that, well, you probably don’t know who he really is (one of the prime movers behind the original California Proposition 215 that gave us medical marijuana) or what else he’s done (such as keep himself alive for quite a while past his original predicted “death date” in 1981 from cancer, solely by using medical marijuana). You should read his Wikipedia entry, and then read his letter below, to understand exactly what kind of guy he is.
A hero, if you ask me. Good luck to you, Steve, whatever you’re planning next.
— Old Hippie
Dear Friends and Fellow Activists,
Effective immediately I am resigning as chief officer and campaign manager for Regulate Marijuana Like Wine. I am also retiring from marijuana politics and activism.
It has been my honor and pleasure to serve with you over the past two decades. During that time, I have been profoundly moved by the courage, intelligence and integrity shown by you and our fellow cannabis warriors. Together we have made history, saved lives and established new civil rights for sick, disabled and dying patients.
Looking back on all those years, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for everything you and other activists have done for me and for our cause. When I was fighting for my life in the Placer County jail, pissing blood, puking my brains out and shivering violently from solitary confinement in a freezing cold cell, you saved my bacon. You showed up at my trials, held vigils while I was being tortured by my captors, gave me money and made it possible for us to defeat the drug warriors.
Ultimately, I was cleared of any wrongdoing and my record expunged. Together we defeated these public serpents and their evil plan to felonize, discredit and destroy me and the medical marijuana movement. Like so many other cannabis activists, I’ve paid some very painful dues in this brutal drug war. For me, the absolute most painful punishment was the loss of my courageous and inspiring wife, Michele. We lived together in loving bliss for ten years without a single fight, disagreement or even a hard word between us. Michele was everything to me. I loved her with all my heart and soul.
All that changed when I was arrested and Michele was threatened by Child Protective Services with the removal of our two young daughters. It was then that the one and only true love of my life was forced to choose between me and our precious children. Michele did what any good mom would do under such terrifying circumstances and acted to protect our kids from being abducted by CPS, by filing for a divorce. Heartbroken, I had no choice but to accept her decision. Despite the divorce, we’ve remained good friends. We’ve accepted what has happened and she has her own life now. Best of all, my kids and I have remained close.
Thus far, I’ve carefully kept my personal feelings hidden, but now that I am preparing to leave the United States, I believe it is appropriate for me to finally disclose publicly what was done to our family by those who used CPS to punish me for my role in the legalization of medical marijuana. Even now, six years after our split, not a day goes by that I don’t think about Michele or how much I still love and miss her.
The last time I held Michele in my arms was when I departed from Vancouver and flew to SFO in January of 2006. After the plane landed, it inexplicably stopped in the middle of the runway and we were suddenly surrounded by cop cars with flashing lights. Next came the announcement, “Passenger Steve Kubby please come forward.” My attorney, Bill McPike was with me and went up to the front to explain that he had arranged for me to turn myself in at Placer County and this was only an alleged violation of probation. McPIke was ordered by an air marshal to shut up and return to his seat. I was ordered to come forward immediately.
Once outside the aircraft, I was forcibly slammed against the fuselage and handcuffed. I struggled desperately to catch my breath, while I was frogmarched down the stairs and past an army of heavily armed soldiers from the DEA, ICE, FBI, Customs, Homeland Security and several other agencies. As I was paraded like a trophy past a formidable army of hostile law enforcement, I tried to understand how I had become such a dangerous international criminal. I’ve never harmed anyone, there were never any victims and my only accusers were all government agents. Incredibly, my medicinal use and cultivation of a natural healing herb had become so dangerous and so threatening that all these tentacles of the Federal government were now on full alert, determined to destroy me and everything I represented.
We arrived at a waiting cop car and I complained that the cuffs were too tight and my wrists were bleeding. I was told to “shut the f*ck up and get in the f*cking car.” Without any warning, a big man inside the cop car ordered the officer to remove the cuffs and re-cuff my hands in front of me and make sure I was comfortable.
“You’re famous!” exclaimed the burly sheriff’s deputy as we pulled away in his cruiser. We made eye contact in his rearview mirror. I held up my bleeding wrists next to my eyes, where he could see them and said, “lucky me.”
“No, you don’t understand,” he pleaded, “All the media and a big crowd of people were there at the airport waiting to greet you. That’s why they arrested you, before you could get in front of Fox and CNN.” About this time, to my utter astonishment, the officer became very emotional and actually got teary eyed. Then he told me the rest of the story.
“All of us thought this medical marijuana thing was a fraud. A total scam. Then my dad got cancer and we went out and got some marijuana for him. He got better and lived for another two years. We got to spend time together, fishing and talking about all the stuff we’ve shared. We had time to say goodbye and it made all the difference in the world. If it were up to me, I’d take you home right now as a hero to my entire family, but I have to take you in instead.”
Then it hit me, like an angry tidal wave, that we are all suffering from this insane drug war, even the police.
Looking forward, I find myself embarking upon an extraordinary new opportunity, something I’ve been dreaming about for years. I can’t tell you what I am up to just yet, but it is what I came here to do and I am thrilled to finally be working with some of the most fantastic people I’ve ever known, on a project that is truly breathtaking in scope and impact. A public announcement about this new project will be forthcoming.
Thank you and farewell,