In an op-ed published Thursday in The New York Times, state Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach called the state law that outlaws medical marijuana "barbaric."
"Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep," he said.
Reichbach has been a judge for more than two decades, sitting on the Supreme Court, the trial-level court in New York, in the borough of Brooklyn. He continues to serve as a judge.
A state Assembly committee released a bill Tuesday that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes in New York. While the measure seems likely to pass the lower house, the state Senate has a history of rejecting such bills or denying them a vote, the Times said.
State Sen. Diane Savino, a Democrat from Staten Island, said Reichbach's public admission was "incredibly moving and brave," the New York Daily News reported.
A source told the News that Reichbach is likely to die before any state disciplinary process reached a conclusion. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and went into remission, only to have a recurrence of cancer a month ago.
Reichbach said he gets his marijuana from friends.