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By Hempology | July 21, 2005

There is a better way for the Kubby family to get its wish to live in Canada. It needs to solve its problems in the United States and then follow the same channels required of anyone else who wants to immigrate to this country.

Steve Kubby is a fugitive from the United States living at Sun Peaks so he can use marijuana, which he says is keeping him alive. Kubby has adrenal cancer and smokes pot to control the symptoms of his disease.

Unfortunately, he was arrested four years ago in California for possession of peyote and a magic-mushroom stem. He was convicted and sentenced to 120 days, which the court says he could serve at home because of his medical condition.

Kubby fled to Canada with his wife Michele and their two young children. He applied for refugee status, saying he could die if he was returned to the U.S. because he would not have access to marijuana.

He has had a series of hearings, all of which denied him the right to claim status as a refugee. Last week, the Federal Court refused to overturn the Immigration and Refugee Board decision.

Conservative MP Randy White was happy with the decision, arguing too many criminals are fleeing to Canada to claim refugee status when their cases have no merit. He is frustrated by the money being spent to hold the hearings, which he believes are a waste of time.

He’s wrong. Their cases should be heard because there are legitimate refugees who deserve to have their matters heard in full. The refugee protection system would lose all credibility if people like Randy White could determine without a hearing which case was legitimate and which was not.

Kubby has been treated fairly by the U.S. penal system with a promise to let him serve his sentence at home. A judge in that country recognized that he does have a medical condition, which could be compromised by a jail term.

Kubby should have served his sentence, rather than trying to escape it by crossing the border into Canada.

Canada cannot overrule the U.S. justice system when it appears to be taking a reasonable position. Kubby’s fears are understandable. He is not going to want to take a chance on losing the one drug that he believes is keeping him alive.

However, he should have made his application to come to Canada properly in the first place and avoided a long, protracted battle that he had little chance of winning from the outset.

MAP posted-by: Derek

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