ABC News Medical Unit posted a story last week about possible uses of Steve Kubby’s cannabis lozenge to treat flu, and this week 2008 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate Wayne Root made available an excerpt from his book passionately criticizing the prosecution of his 2008 LP rival Kubby on charges related to medical marijuana.
Excerpts from the ABC story:
Cannabis Science, an emerging pharmaceutical cannabis company of which Melamede is president and CEO, is working on an edible form of medicinal marijuana that its officials think will help treat many infectious diseases, swine flu included. Last month, the company announced its intention to apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s fast track approval process in the hope of making its anti-flu lozenge available for a possible second wave of swine flu. […]
The concentrated cannabis lozenge was an idea pioneered by Steve Kubby, who, up until two weeks ago, was himself the president and CEO of Cannabis Science. […] Because the marijuana plant contains natural, plant-based cannabinoids, called phytocannabinoids, giving cannabis to someone with the flu supplements their body’s endocannabinoid system and helps take down the inflammation. But could it work for swine flu? Though the current and ex-CEO might not meet eye to eye on many things right now, both feel that the potential for using marijuana for serious strains of the flu, like H1N1, is enormous. “It’s such a changeable virus that vaccines might not work,” Kubby said. “But changing the way our bodies respond to the virus [with cannabis] does work.”
Here is the section about Kubby in Root’s book Conscience of a Libertarian:
The list of idiotic, hypocritical, and dangerous actions taken by Nanny State politicians and government bureaucrats is long. My good friend Steve Kubby serves as a reminder of what can happen when you anger public officials. Steve has one of the deadliest forms of cancer there is, cancer of the adrenal gland. If the cancer doesn’t kill you first, you’ll die from a heart attack or stroke, caused by the tumor suddenly releasing extreme amounts of adrenaline. Steve is the only human in the annals of medical science to have lived more than a few years with his form of cancer and is currently celebrating his 35th year of surviving this cancer. Steve is literally a walking miracle. He credits his remission to one thing and one thing only: medical marijuana. Now I’m no fan of drugs. As a matter of fact, I’ve never smoked marijuana (or any other drug) in my entire life. It’s just not my thing. But you can bet if someone I loved had a painful or deadly disease, and medical marijuana offered hope, I’d explore everything and try anything offered by medical science to save my loved one. So would you.
When someone has a deadly disease like cancer and medical doctors report possible progress, miracle breakthroughs, or just the easing of pain with the use of medical marijuana, should government remove that option for the sick and dying? Do you want government banning the only thing that might keep your father, or mother, or grandparents, or children alive? Do you want government banning the only medicine that doctors agree might ease your dying mother’s excruciating pain? Does government even have the right to limit your medical choices or decisions? Perhaps that is why despite the United States being a strongly antidrug nation, medical marijuana has passed in nearly every state where it has been on the ballot-usually by huge margins of victory.
Steve Kubby has never hurt another soul on this earth by smoking marijuana. He’s simply trying to stay alive. This brave man’s life is on the line every day. He’s lived like that for 35 years. Yet prosecutors in California put him in jail and took away his medical marijuana, even though it was legal based on California law at the time. It was legal because Steve led the fight to pass Prop. 215.
The reason that Steve led the fight for legalization is because for years, politicians, police, and prosecutors told him “If you don’t like the law, change it.” So Steve and his friends did just that. They did exactly what government asked them to do. They ran a statewide political campaign-and they won. Steve Kubby and his friends convinced the voters of California to legalize medical marijuana. Little did they know that victory over the vicious and vindictive political establishment would come back to haunt them. The government came after all the leaders of the medical marijuana movement, and nearly every one of them ended up facing felony prosecutions. Steve faced 19 felony counts and 40 years in prison. But worst of all, they threatened to take his children away from him. They threatened his loving wife Michele that if she allowed their daughters near Steve, Child Protective Services (CPS) might have the children removed from her care and put in foster homes. For what? For the crime of having a deadly form of cancer and using a medicinal herb proven to work (but which pharmaceutical companies can’t sell or make profits)? According to our government, that’s a crime worthy of 40 years in prison and losing your children?
But 40 years in prison was only the stated term of punishment. In reality, by withholding the only known treatment that had kept him alive for over three decades, prosecutors tried to impose a death sentence on Steve Kubby. They made Steve lie shivering in a freezing jail cell, without a blanket, without the only medicine known to keep his cancer in remission. Soon Steve was blind in one eye, urinating blood in his cell, and suffering from horrendous blood pressure attacks of 260/220. Doctors testified that if he were not released from jail soon, Steve would surely die. This sounds more like the way we’d treat a terrorist who just blew up the World Trade Center and murdered 3,000 people, than a cancer patient trying to prolong his life by smoking medical marijuana. Is this my United States of America?
What were these California prosecutors protecting us from? Why were they willing to kill Steve in order to prevent him from taking an herb that was keeping him alive? How did Steve’s decision to take medical marijuana affect anyone else’s life? Who was Steve hurting in any way? How exactly is our society damaged by a cancer patient using an alternative therapy? This reminds me of the old story about the Holocaust. None of this matters-until it happens to you. Then it’s too late-you’ve allowed the government to take away your rights, to grow too powerful.
Eventually Steve was released, and his record expunged by a judge. So the government was willing to let a man die (or put him away for 40 years) for a crime so minor that a judge eventually ordered Steve’s record to be completely cleared?
I consider Steve a hero, not a criminal. Medical science should be studying Steve Kubby. His story and experiences offer hope for millions of present and future cancer victims. Remember, I lost my mom and dad to cancer.
But Steve’s story proves once again the limitations of allowing government officials, politicians, or prosecutors to define “morality” on behalf of citizens. Should drugs that offer hope for seriously ill cancer patients be banned by close-minded politicians and government bureaucrats who have no medical background? Tens of thousands of patients die each year from legal prescriptions, written by doctors. Yet those drugs are allowed to continue to be sold by pharmaceutical companies unabated. Why? Because billions of dollars are on the line and lobbyists make sure they stay legal and available for sale. Yet no one has ever died from medical marijuana.
So why is there such a desperate need to ban it? Could it be because there are no lobbyists writing huge checks to politicians? Could it be because pharmaceutical companies don’t make any money off its sale? These prosecutors must be the descendents of the Nanny State politicians of the early twentieth century who banned alcohol during Prohibition. We all know how well that experiment worked out. The results were that U.S. citizens kept right on drinking, the government lost millions in tax revenues on alcohol, ordinary people lost respect for the law, and organized crime was born (Prohibition was the best thing to ever happen to Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, Al Capone, and Bugsy Siegal). Government proves every day that those who fail to study history are destined to make the same mistakes over and over again. The history of the United States is that government screws up virtually everything it touches.