Pro-Medical Marijuana Judge in NY Dies of Cancer
Brooklyn judge Gustin Reichbach passed away this weekend due to stage 3 pancreatic cancer. A couple months ago he wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times expressing his support for medical marijuana, which he used illegally to alleviate his suffering.
"My survival has demanded an enormous price, including months of chemotherapy, radiation hell and brutal surgery... Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep," Reichback 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.
“Because criminalizing an effective medical technique affects the fair administration of justice, I feel obliged to speak out as both a judge and a cancer patient suffering with a fatal disease. I implore the governor and the Legislature of New York, always considered a leader among states, to join the forward and humane thinking of 16 other states and pass the medical marijuana bill this year. Medical science has not yet found a cure, but it is barbaric to deny us access to one substance that has proved to ameliorate our suffering.”
Under federal and NY state law, Judge Reichbach was a criminal. But what is criminal about sick people choosing what they ingest in their body? Fortunately he was never disciplined for his marijuana use, but that’s a right that belongs to every adult. Cannabis users aren’t hurting anyone, and neither was Judge Reichbach.
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