Last week, Gustin L. Reichbach – a justice on the NY State Supreme Court who is suffering from cancer – wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times pleading for New York legislators to pass the medical marijuana bill this year. The judge, who was diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer 3 1/2 years ago, says that he has been undergoing “chemotherapy, radiation hell and brutal surgery,” that marijuana is the only thing that is able to alleviate his symptoms, and that without it he finds both eating and sleeping immeasurably more difficult. He added that Marinol, the drug prescribed by his doctors to accomplish the same things, was “useless.”
“This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue” Reichbach said in the article, “When palliative care is understood as a fundamental human and medical right, marijuana for medical use should be beyond controversy.”
It is our position at Phoenix House that we support the medical use of marijuana in such end-of-life scenarios, when all other avenues have been exhausted. With 16 states already allowing the clinical use of marijuana, and several others with proposed legislation currently being debated, this is clearly an important issue not just in New York, but across the country. What do you think? Do you agree with Judge Reichbach that in these situations, medical marijuana should be “beyond controversy”? Let us know in the comments.