California medical marijuana user and advocate Steve Kubby, who fled to Canada last year to avoid a jail sentence that he called a "death penalty" because he would be deprived of the medical marijuana that allowed him to live with a rare form of cancer, has applied for refugee status in an attempt to avoid being deported.

Last month, after stories began appearing in the Canadian press about American marijuana expatriates enjoying the good life in British Columbia, Canadian authorities arrested Kubby as a fugitive from California and for violating Canadian immigration laws. During a search of his home incidental to the arrest, police discovered a grow operation with 160 plants and added charges of cannabis cultivation and possession with the intent of trafficking.

On May 17, a Canadian immigration and refugee board adjudicator, Daphne Shaw-Dyck, ruled that because of his drug conviction in California (he beat a marijuana charge, but was convicted of possessing a mushroom stem and part of a peyote button), Kubby was inadmissible to Canada. Under that ruling, Kubby must leave within 30 days or face a deportation order and a permanent ban from entering the country.

But Kubby and his attorneys have now filed for refugee status, claiming that he is being persecuted by the US government. Under Canadian law, that claim must be reviewed before he can be removed. That process could take as long as a year.

-- END --
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Issue #238, 5/24/02 Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform Joins with Members of Congress at US Capitol to Call for Repeal of HEA Drug Provision | British MPs Call for Massive Drug Policy Reform, But Reject Legalization -- for Now | Incoming Dutch Government Threatens Coffee Shops | Budget Crunch: Drug War Fuels Mississippi Prison Binge, No Money Left for Education | High School Drug Courts Spreading in West Virginia | Newsbrief: Marijuana Exile Steve Kubby Claims Refugee Status in Canada | Newsbrief: British Cannabis Cafe Owner Freed | Newsbrief: North Carolina Drug Courts Face Ax Because of Budget Woes | Newsbrief: New York City Cops in Paraphernalia Sweep, Big Hoopla, Misdemeanor Arrests | Newsbrief: Seattle Marijuana Initiative Signature-Gathering Now Underway | Newsbrief: Santa Cruz to Place Needle Disposal Boxes in Public Restrooms | Errata: Different Kinds of Mushrooms | The Reformer's Calendar

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