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Monday, February 28, 2011

Steve Kubby, Prop 215 Author, Drafts New initiative to Decriminalize Marijuana

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Steve Kubby, would-be freer of marijuana
  • Steve Kubby, would-be freer of marijuana
Steve Kubby, would-be freer of marijuana
Steve Kubby has earned his stripes: Before he was a Libertarian Party candidate for governor of California and President of the United States (and South Lake Tahoe City Council), Kubby was a model activist and poster child for the medical cannabis movement. The latter because he has lived with a rare form of adrenal cancer for over 40 years, thanks to medial marijuana, and the former for co-authoring Proposition 215.

Now, Kubby, 64, is circulating a proposed ballot initiative for 2012 that, he told SF Weekly on Monday, can not only succeed where Proposition 19 failed last November, but could lead toward a changed federal policy on marijuana.

Can you say, "No more CAMP helicopters?"

"We know what it takes, and we're completely

serious," Kubby said Monday. "We wouldn't invest all this time and

energy if we weren't confident that we could win."

Kubby's will not be the only ballot initiative for 2012 --

Santa Cruz activist Michael Jolson is circulating a "California Cannabis

and Hemp Initiative," with a committee of activists that worked

on the Prop. 19 campaign.

Yet "our

initiative is very different," Kubby tells us.

For starters, read "The Marijuana Regulation and Tax

Act of 2012" for yourself -- it's less than  1,000 words, which is no accident,

Kubby said. Kubby purposefully wrote short -- Prop. 19 itself was 3,009 words, and "that's just too long," he said.

And Kubby isn't wasting one of his 953 words.

In the first

paragraph, the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act "repeal[s] all California

state laws that prohibit marijuana possession, sales, transportation,

production, processing, and cultivation by people 21 years of age and older,

and thereby remove[s] marijuana from any other statutes pertaining to the

prohibition and regulation of controlled substances, whether now existing or

enacted in the future."

While specifically mentioning that rights enjoyed

by medical patients under Prop. 215 will be untouched, the initiative also

allows for Californians to be able to grow hemp -- currently the only commodity

in America which is legal to buy, sell, import and export but not grow. It also uses commercial wine production as a model, exempting pot growers with 99 plants

or fewer or 50 pounds of product a year or less from paying state or local taxes.

Kubby's bill also includes no new criminal penalties,

another knock against Prop. 19 (which created a new crime for smoking in front

of minors). No criminal penalties for pot smokers, that is.

Law enforcement

gets special treatment in this bill: California cops would be prohibited from cooperating with federal DEA agents or other

John Laws going after marijuana users.

That's radical -- but no more radical than the steps taken

during the repeal of Prohibition. "We're not legalizing anything,"

Kubby noted. "We're just striking down the bad laws and turning over the

expense -- the courts and all that stuff -- to the feds. We're getting that out

of California -- and frankly I don't think the feds are in a position to take

it over."

Exactly how this will play with the Prop. 19 folks and the

money-makers who bankrolled them is unclear. A message for Steve Gutwillig,

chair of the state Drug Policy Alliance (which funneled millions to the Prop. 19

effort, from the likes of George Soros and others), was not immediately

returned. A spokeswoman for the Prop. 19 campaign did not immediately return an

e-mail, either.

But Kubby says he's willing to play ball. "I'm not

married to our initiative," he said. "If [other efforts] cover the

same ground we cover, and poll at 60 percent or above, I will get on


Kubby says he's currently fundraising to pay for polls, with plans to have a finalized initiative in the hands of paid signature gatherers by the

fall. The initiative would require 504,760 validated signatures by February

2012 to qualify for the November 2012 ballot.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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