A New York Judge Admits He Uses Marijuana! Will It Help Lead To Legalization?
Gustin L. Reichbach, a justice of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, New York, admits he is using marijuana to help with his cancer treatment.
Roughly three years ago, Justice Reichbach found out he had pancreatic cancer and faced a darkened future. Pancreatic cancer, for most, tends to be a death sentence. For those like Justice Reichbach who are lucky enough to continue to survive, the symptoms caused by radiation treatment may make death a welcomed alternative. Radiation treatment, as many of us know, is a horrific ordeal. As Justice Reichbach stated, not only do victims of cancer lose their energy and general ability to fully enjoy the pleasures of life, but they also are robbed of normal pleasures we all take for granted, such as an appetite.
The loss of an appetite may seem like an underwhelming problem for someone who is dealing with all the other nasty effects associated with having cancer (most notably contemplating one's own mortality), but it is. As Justice Reichbach notes in his Op- Ed for the New York Times, food is one of his great pleasures in life. Since he started ingesting marijuana via inhaling, or in layman terms, "smoking it," his appetite has returned and his depression has somewhat subsided. It has helped him enjoy his current circumstances as best as possible. He further declaratively states that not giving him a legal ability to purchase marijuana and "smoke it,” is violating his human rights.
Justice Reichbach has elevated the debate into a legal arena, and is equating his pain and other patients like him as an almost civil rights issue. He feels that being disqualified from legally purchasing marijuana is unfairly affecting his life in the negative. But one of the more interesting concepts Justice Reichbach is arguing is that alternative medicines with THC embedded into a pill form or other ingestible methods are not sufficient, and that he should be able to purchase and inhale “smokeable” marijuana.
By declaring such a strong position in favor of outright legalization of smokeable marijuana and declaring that not allowing him to purchase such a product is a "human rights" issue, Justice Reichbach will now force opponents of legalizing marijuana to find a legal, concrete argument to counteract his analysis: basically, that this illegality of such a purchase is violating his basic human rights. Opponents will find it challenging to find a good foot to stand on when a state Supreme Court Justice is arguing this point. Furthermore, the very real emotional and physical challenges that Justice Reichbach (and other people dealing with similar issues like him) must overcome is a gut-wrenching reality that we must consider as a society.
Is it against someone's human rights, as the Justice contends, if they are legally prevented from purchasing smokeable marijuana? Well, the judge certainly makes a convincing case; and it is a combined case of legal verbiage and basic human empathy . . . A perfect mix to undermine an archaic argument against legalization.
But will it work? Well, when a state Supreme court Justice declares he purchases and smokes marijuana to combat the ravaging effects of chemotherapy and compares it to a human rights issue . . . it’s a tad bit challenging to disprove him.
So yes, this sort of argument will eventually work.
Reichbach, Gustin L. "A Judge’s Plea for Pot." NYTimes.com. The New York Times, 16 May 2012. Web. 22 May 2012.