New Yorker Gustin Reichbach went through hell when his doctor diagnosed his Stage III pancreatic cancer three years ago.
Aggressive chemotherapy left him battered almost as badly as the cancer itself. He couldn't eat. He couldn't sleep. He was in pain and nauseous. He lost weight. He tried various prescription drugs, but they left him with an even broader array of ailments - constipation, more appetite loss, dangerous glucose levels. Nothing worked as well as marijuana, so he drew the curtains on his well-appointed home and smoked. He was in the same shoes as any patient in a state that doesn't have MMJ on the books. Almost.
You see, Gustin Reichbach is a sitting New York Supreme Court justice. He recently outed his MMJ self in a New York Times guest editorial. He is risking a lot to tell his state government to pass an MMJ law this year, and he doesn't just limit himself to the medical reasons for supporting MMJ. He gives a legitimate legal reason. Go Gustin.
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.
Gustin Reichbach, New York Times editorial, May 16, 2012
It's fun when important people give a shit about MMJ. In fact, it's important when important people give a shit about it. When freaks or losers or weirdos give a shit about things, people whisper behind their hands. Check out that weirdo. He supports medical marijuana. But when judges do it, the New York Times listens. We can only hope people of Gustin's stature start marching out of the MMJ closet, first maybe one at a time, but eventually in twos and threes and then crowds. The last guy can slam the door when the closet is empty.
Gustin opened the door, guys.
Come on out.