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Medical Marijuana: ONDCP Claims Steve Kubby Has Changed His Mind, Kubby Says No Way!

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #494)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) used testimony submitted to Congress last week to misrepresent the position of Steve Kubby, a leading California medical marijuana advocate. Kubby acted this week to denounce the deception and clarify his continuing support for medical marijuana.

Steve Kubby
In written testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, Dr. David Murray, ONDCP's Chief Scientist called medical marijuana advocates "modern-day snake oil proponents," sneered at medicines that make patients "feel good," and claimed that laws okaying medical marijuana in a dozen states have led to "abuse, confusion, and crime." Then, to further buttress his argument against the therapeutic use of the herb, he added:

"Founding proponents of medical marijuana in the United States have reversed their key positions of support for medical marijuana. Rev. Scott Imler, Co-founder of Prop 215, has lamented the passage of California's medical marijuana law stating that, 'We created Prop. 215 so that patients would not have to deal with black market profiteers. But today it is all about the money. Most of the dispensaries operating in California are little more than dope dealers with store fronts.' Imler also said that medical marijuana has 'turned into a joke.' Steve Kubby, another Co-founder of medical marijuana in California stated in a letter to supporters on April 14th, 2006 that 'Marinol is an acceptable, if not ideal, substitute for whole cannabis in treating my otherwise fatal disease.' (Alternatives magazine, Fall, 2006 Issue 39, San Gabriel Valley Tribune 2/07, Message from Steve Kubby, Steve Kubby Released After Serving 62 Days in Jail, April 14th, 2006)"

Imler, a founder of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, which was raided and shut down by the DEA in 2001, has not taken exception to Murray's portrayal of his position -- after all, Murray accurately transcribed his words from the year-old magazine article. But Kubby, who was forced to resort to Marinol while jailed for two months in California, certainly took umbrage.

"My comments about Marinol were based upon my relief that I did not die in jail," he wrote in an email to supporters. "My comment was intended to acknowledge that I did get good blood pressure control with the Marinol and that finding certainly deserves further study. On the other hand, I lost 33 pounds in 62 days while on Marinol, so perhaps I should have used stronger language than 'less than ideal.'"

Kubby suffered from almost constant nausea while on Marinol, he wrote, adding that Murray took his sentence about Marinol out of context. The paragraph from which it was extracted reads as follows: "During that time I experienced excruciating pain, a vicious high blood-pressure crisis, passed blood in my urine and I lost 33 pounds. However, there was also good news. I learned that Marinol is an acceptable, if not ideal, substitute for whole cannabis in treating my otherwise fatal disease. Now I am a free man and I am profoundly grateful to be alive and to have friends and supporters such as you."

While conceding that Marinol can be effective for treatment of hypertension and would allow him to travel briefly without medical marijuana, it does not allow him to have an acceptable quality of life, Kubby said.

"Please help me squash this deceptive and dangerous misrepresentation of my true feeling on this matter by the ONDCP," Kubby wrote. "It just shows how desperate they are that they must mislead people in this way. And just so there is no question about this, let me be clear: Whole cannabis is not only the best medicine for me, it is the only medicine that has kept me alive during the 32 years that I have continued to live, in relatively good heath, despite a terminal diagnosis of malignant pheochromocytoma."

With Murray and ONDCP, it's sort of like that old country song title: "Who Are You Going to Believe -- Me or Your Lying Eyes?"

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

that is why he is so strict. If der fuehrer didn't love us so much, he wouldn't care.

Fri, 07/20/2007 - 2:36pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Maybe if one little word had been said instead of another, it would have been much clearer that the Marinol was inadequate. The phrase, "if not ideal" may have been taken not only was it working, but I felt it was ideal" Just changing the phrase to "but not ideal" the point would have been portrayed more accurately. I had problems with the quotation when I read it. But, with this, more detailed description of the effectiveness of Marinol that Mr Kubby experienced, it is much clearer that the quote was used because its meaning could be used both ways. It appeard to be a little ambiguous, just because the phrase was "if not ideal".

And the $300 plus a month for Marinol would have been better used for paying for and dispensing medical marijuana for Mr Kubby, since this was the "ideal" medication for him! These guys do not have one iota of intelligence, when it comes to understanding medical decisions. A good doctor tries to find the best medicine for his patient. He would not use just one drug for a certain disease! He would evaluate the individual response of each patient to determine what is best for him. Diuretics are excellent drugs for hypertension. But, if given to someone, like me, the muscles start immediate cramping and muscle spasm caused by low potassium levels in the bloodstream. That is even in the presence of potassium sparing diuretics, that are supposed to prevent it!! Would the doctor tell me, that is all you can have? Of course not!!! He would switch to the medicine that was "ideal" for my particular system and my particular disease. But, try telling that to the cops! They like trying to put doctors in jail! I really know about that one!

Sat, 07/21/2007 - 2:41pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The proper role of a bureaucratic organization such as the FDA (parent of the DEA, which should not even exist) in a democratic, "free" society should be one of advice and knowledge. The individual citizen has the right and obligation to make choices for his direct benefit; the government has no legitimate role in those decisions. The legitimate role for such an organization should be to test efficacy and safety, THEN ADVISE THE PUBLIC OF THE FINDINGS. The individual should have the responsibility for making HIS OWN DECISION regarding the particular substance and its effect on his condition. Not all medications work the same for all people. Making any substance illegal and prohibited serves no useful purpose other than creating a 'black market' to provide for those of us who decide for ourselves what works to alleviate our pain and suffering. Even MD's should not have the power to DECIDE for us, only to RECOMMEND prescriptions that their experience, training, pharma knowledge indicate as possible alleviators.
I am disgusted with you cowards who sign anonymously:

Sat, 07/21/2007 - 7:32pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I practiced pain medicine for years, being attacked repeatedly, for it. The name comes up anonymous, because it protects some of us. With politics they way it is, anything written about the government agencies on the Internet can be read! I might, if luckey, get my licnese back to treat people. That is, if I don't make anyone mad.

It may be cowardly, in a way. But I am unemployed and I have been for many months. Are you?

Mon, 07/23/2007 - 11:18am Permalink

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