Following news that medical marijuana is gaining support in New York, a Kings County Supreme Court Justice, Gustin L. Reichbach, has “come out” as a marijuana user in an op-ed piece by The New York Times.
Reichbach shared that he uses marijuana to help manage side effects that he experiences as a result of cancer treatment. In addition to revealing that he uses the drug, Reichbach also pleaded for lawmakers to consider medical marijuana legalization for the state.
In the article he wrote, “Given my position as a sitting judge still hearing cases, well-meaning friends question the wisdom of my coming out on this issue. But I recognize that fellow cancer sufferers may be unable, for a host of reasons, to give voice to our plight. It is another heartbreaking aporia in the world of cancer that the one drug that gives relief without deleterious side effects remains classified as a narcotic with no medicinal value.”
Judge Reichbach tried using the FDA approved drug Marinol, a synthetic alternative to THC, to treat his symptoms, but found it completely ineffective. In contrast, using marijuana has alleviated his symptoms such as nausea, sleeplessness, and pain.
A recently released Siena poll showed that 57% of New Yorkers approved of legalizing marijuana for medical use, while 33% of residents were opposed to it. A Gallup poll published in late 2011 showed that about 74% of Americans think that doctors should be able to prescribe marijuana.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has spoken out against medical marijuana, and it is unlikely that he will support any proposed medical marijuana legislation.