A coalition of Arkansas church groups came out against casino proposals the other day and threw in, for good measure, a blast against the effort to legalize medical marijuana. The churchmen were sure legal pot wasn’t necessary because of synthetic drug substitutes for this “gateway” drug.

Perhaps Jerry Cox and the self-assured repressors waving Bibles around ought to read this compelling op-ed from a sitting New York judge battling end-stage pancreatic cancer. Marijuana has been the only thing — the only thing — that has given him an appetite or relief during his long struggle. He comes out as a lawbreaker to help others.


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