ALBANY, N.Y. – Faster access to medical marijuana was urged by parents at the Capitol Monday.
The Compassionate Care Act passed in the state assembly and senate legalizing medical marijuana, but the waiting period is 18 months. Many parents rallied at the Capitol because they said 18 months is too long to wait.
Wendy Conte traveled to the Capital Region from Buffalo to push for medical marijuana to be on the fast track.
“My daughter died waiting for this program to be up and running,” she said.
Conte’s daughter, Anna, recently passed away from an epileptic seizure. She wants to spare other parents from her pain.
“My daughter was full of life,” Conte continued. “She went to school, horseback riding and swimming, and her life was taken because of seizures. So if the governor feels that 18 months is a good time frame – it is not. Children are dying daily.”
Conte was joined by many other parents who met with the governor’s office and the Department of Health behind closed doors. They want emergency access to medical marijuana, and they don’t understand why Governor Cuomo is hesitating.
Two other children have died from seizures in the past couple weeks.
“We can’t wait. These kids are literally every day fighting for their lives,” parent Christina Emerson said. “They are one seizure away from dying as we have seen in the past couple weeks, so we can’t sit here and wait another 18 months until the governor thinks he has a good and safe plan in place. We need immediate access.”
Parents pointed out that other states already have longstanding medical marijuana programs in place.
“Other states are doing it,” Conte said. “They are not reinventing the wheel in New York by not implementing early access for their children. They are killing our children.”
Parents promised to continually come back until their children get the help they need.
Cuomo previously state he supports the 18-month wait because of public safety and public health concerns that need to be addressed.