SACRAMENTO — With the jury hopelessly deadlocked, but leaning in favor of acquittal, a Placer County judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the pot sales case against a chief backer of California's landmark 1996 medical marijuana measure.
After deliberating more than five days, the jury told Judge John L. Cosgrove that it was leaning 11 to 1 to acquit Steve Kubby and his wife, Michele, of charges that the 265 marijuana plants they had cultivated in a Squaw Valley home were for financial gain.
But the jury convicted Kubby, a 1998 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, of felony possession of a small amount of peyote and a psychedelic mushroom stem.
Kubby said he is confident Cosgrove will take his medical condition into consideration during sentencing Feb. 2 on those counts.
"I got nicked, I got some cuts, but they'll heal," Kubby said afterward. "We stood and fought and defended the rights of sick people. We hope this creates a bright line for law enforcement."
Kubby, who has lived in Orange County with his wife's parents since the January 1999 arrest, contends that six or eight marijuana cigarettes he has smoked daily helped keep in check a rare form of adrenal cancer that normally kills in five years. A stint in jail without what he considers his "medicine," Kubby contends, would amount to a death sentence.
Prosecutors, who now must consider whether they want to refile the case against Kubby and his wife, failed to return telephone calls after the verdict.