One day before the deadline for Governor Cuomo to sign or veto a bill that would create emergency access to medical marijuana, patients and advocates will rally outside his office to demand action. Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana and at least four children, who could have likely benefited from it, have tragically died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine. The emergency access bill was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by the New York State legislature last June and delivered to Governor Cuomo on October 30th. He has ten days to sign or veto the bill, making the deadline for action November 11th.
Compassionate Care NY will hold a press conference urging Governor Cuomo to sign the emergency access bill.
What: Press conference and rally urging Cuomo to sign a bill to create emergency access to medical marijuana
- Representatives of the Drug Policy Alliance
- Missy Miller, mother of a child with a severe seizure disorder
- Reginald Brown, person living with HIV/AIDS
- Wanda Hernandez, person living with HIV/AIDS
When: Tuesday, November 10th, 10:00 AM
Where: Outside Governor Cuomo's NYC Offices; 633 Third Avenue, New York, NY
Since last July, advocates have been pressuring the Cuomo Administration to create an interim emergency access program for patients who may not survive the eighteen months or longer that the Governor has said he needs to get the full medical marijuana program up and running. After the Governor's Office failed to take action, advocates turned to the legislature.
"We've been waiting an outrageous 15 months for expedited access to medical marijuana," said Missy Miller of Atlantic Beach, whose son Oliver suffers from life-threatening seizures. "Every day we wait is a day I watch my son lose ground. We can't afford any more delays. And delays seem likely considering I have not heard even one word about how to register my son for this program and many of the dispensaries are having difficulties securing their sites. Governor Cuomo should finally do the right thing and sign the bill so families like mine can get long awaited help."
In June, with overwhelming bipartisan support, both houses of the legislature passed A.7060 (Gottfried) / S.5086 (Griffo), a bill that would direct the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. It also instructs the state to issue patient cards to critically ill patients who qualify as soon as possible making it clear that they are medical marijuana patients and affording them some protection from law enforcement and child protective services. On Tuesday, advocates will rally outside the Governor's office to urge him to sign the bill or take other action to help patients in desperate need.
New York's medical marijuana program is slated to become operational in January of 2016, but the state has yet to launch a system for patients to register and just unveiled the mandatory doctor training in mid-October. Advocates have expressed concern that too few doctors will be trained and too few patients able to register in time to take advantage of the program come January. The emergency access bill would afford the Department of Health additional tools to expedite access to the critically ill in case of delays.
"With less than three months to go before New York's medical marijuana program is slated to roll out, I'm really concerned that there could be delays in the program," said Maryanne Houser of Suffern. "My daughter Amanda has been waiting since July of 2014 when she stood next to Governor Cuomo at the bill signing and he promised to help her. He can help her now by signing the emergency access bill."