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Medical marijuana advocates want regulations sped up
ALBANYMedical Marijuana is now legal in New York State but it will be 18-months before anyone can actually use it. On Monday, families of those desperate for medical marijuana met with employees of the Department of Health and Governor Cuomos office to encourage the state to speed up implementation of the rules and regulations surrounding the sale, distribution and use of marijuana.
When the Compassionate Care Act passed in June, Wendy Conte was in Albany to witness it. She left the Capitol that day hopeful that her 9 year-old daughter Anna would soon get some relief from the constant seizures that crippled her little body, she always a smile on her face, always a hug to give--just a great little happy girl but she was devastated by seizures, Conte says of her daughter. Anna passed away two weeks ago, she had an hour-and-a-half long seizure and unfortunately she required so many medications to stop the seizure that it all dropped her blood pressure and caused her permanent brain damage, her mother says. Conte doesnt know that medical marijuana would have saved Annas life but she says she has seen how much it has helped kids in other states dealing with the same seizure disorder her daughter had. Coming off all the pharmaceuticals, or greatly reducing pharmaceuticals, their quality of life increased tremendously, they're able to communicate, eat better, better eye contact, sleeping better, just an overall general better quality of life, Conte says.
Conte and a number of other medical marijuana advocates met privately with state officials to encourage them to fast-track the process that will regulate the drug in New York. Nancy Rivera is a 4-time cancer survivor who shared her story in the meeting, if I'd have had it at the time, it would have taken pain away, it would have stopped nausea and vomiting, it would have helped my kidneys not to fall apart, it just would have been an overall different experience for me than the hell that I went through, Rivera tells CBS6. A hell that the Conte family is now living through, I just came because they're hearing of children dying in New York waiting for this bill to be up and running and the oils need to be provided for these children, I just came to put a face--there really are children dying and if Anna's death, I don't want it to be in vain, I need for her memory to be alive and to say that we need this medication for the children before other children die, Wendy says.
The NYS Health Department did not speak with CBS6 on-camera about the meeting. The families say they were made no promises and it was explained to them for the safety and security of the program, there is a lot of work that needs to be done in setting the rules and regulations but they were told they would be keep in the loop on any developments.