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Judge Uses Weed for Cancer, Lights up NY Medical Pot Debate

Judge Uses Weed for Cancer, Lights up NY Medical Pot Debate

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 05/22/2012 in Marijuana Politics

Lawmakers across New York that are battling to legalize the use of medicinal marijuana are commending an opinion editorial column by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice, Gustin Reichbach. Reichbach admitted to smoking marijuana in order to cope with the effects of his cancer. However, his display of civil disobedience could be construed as disrespect for the law that he is pledged to support. In his long career on the bench, Gustin Reichbach has written many scores, but his recently published opinion editorial has the broadest impact.

Engaged in an intense uphill battle to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana, lawmakers from both houses of the state Legislature say that Gustin Reichbach’s revelation in the May 16th issue of The New York Times gives added credibility to the cause and can significantly move the addressed issue forward.

Senator Diane Savino, a Republican out of Staten Island, supports the medical marijuana bill S02774. S02774 legalizes the possession, manufacturing, use, delivery and transportation of administered marijuana by a certified patient or designated caregiver for a certified medical use. Savino said, “It is amazing that he (Reichbach) showed the courage to put his personal story out there in light of the fact that he is a judge. He is a respected jurist and to hear somebody talk about the benefits in this way moves people who are sitting on the face. I think it will have an effect.”

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who represents the 75th Assembly District that covers Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Murray Hill, Midtown and part of the Lincoln Center area, is sponsoring the bill in the lower chamber, A7347. A7347 is virtually the same as S02774, which Gottfried also co-sponsors. Richard Gottfried agreed immensely with Diane Savino’s statement of Justice Reichbach’s editorial having an effect on people. Manhattan Democrat Gottfried said in regards to Gustin Reichbach’s editorial, “It is one of the most compelling expressions of the need for medical marijuana legislation that I have ever read. It is even stronger because of Justice Reichbach’s stature and the courage it takes for someone in his position to write his story.”

Both Assemblyman Gottfried and Senator Savino said they were caught extremely off-guard by Reichbach’s piece and did not think that it was coming. Court officials were alerted of the piece before it was published, according to spokesman for the Office of Court Administration, David Bookstaver. Bookstaver had said that Justice Gustin Reichbach felt it was important that no one be surprised by his editorial in The New York Times and he made the appropriate people aware that it was going to be published. Bookstaver said, “The reaction was respectful and compassionate.”

Currently, the possession of marijuana in the state of New York remains completely illegal, but if the quantity is less than twenty-five grams or slightly less than one ounce, it is not considered a crime but more of a violation under Penal Law Section 221.05, which is punishable by a payable fine. The possession of marijuana within public view of more than twenty-five grams is considered a class B misdemeanor. Justice Gustin Reichbach’s final word on the issue was addressed as, “This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and human rights issue.” Reichbach has said he implored the governor and the state Legislature to back the bill that would authorize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

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