Press Release  | 06/18/2014

TODAY: Over 100 Patients, Caregivers, and Advocates Travel to Albany to Urge Passage of Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation - the Compassionate Care Act

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Negotiations Between Senate, Assembly and Governor Continue as Deadline for Passage Approaches

Patients & Families Demand Action: “Don’t Make Us Wait Another Year for Relief!”

Albany – With only two days left in the legislative session, over 100 patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers will gather in Albany for rallies urging Governor Cuomo and Senate leaders to pass the Compassionate Care Act before it's too late. They will travel from all over the state -- New York City, Western New York,  Long Island, and Central New York -- to push the Legislature to pass the Compassionate Care Act -- A.6357-D (Gottfried) / S.4406-D (Savino) – before the end of legislative session on Thursday, June 19th. The bill would create one of the nation’s most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs and allow seriously ill patients access to a small amount of marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.

On Monday, Governor Cuomo issued a set of last minute demands related to the legislation, and lawmakers amended the bill to account for many of those concerns. But some of Cuomo’s demands were rejected as they would have made the program unworkable and leave thousands of patients to suffer needlessly. The Governor, bill sponsors, and leadership in both houses are still negotiating to try and reach agreement on the bill. If an agreement is not reached this week, patients and families will be left to suffer another year. New York’s medical marijuana bill has been considered every year since 1997. After nearly 20 years, patients and families have said: ENOUGH. No more delays. It’s time to pass the Compassionate Care Act.

What:  Compassionate Care NY Advocacy Day and Press Conference
When:  Wednesday, June 18th. Press Conference: 12pm; Advocacy day: 11am – 4pm.
Location:  3rd Floor, LCA Room, New York State Capitol, Albany, NY

Who (patients, including):   

  • Sue Kidera, cancer patient from Victor, NY
  • Wanda Hernandez,  person living HIV/AIDS from Bronx, NY
  • Missy Miller, parent of child with intractable seizure disorders from Atlantic Beach, Long Island
  • Holly Anderson, Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester
  • Donna Romano, MS patient from Syracuse, NY
  • Wendy Conte, parent of a child with severe seizure disorder from Buffalo, NY
  • Eileen Konieczny, RN, oncology nurse from New Paltz with more than twenty years of bedside nursing experience

Despite the Governor’s opposition, momentum continues to build as support grows for the Compassionate Care Act. Polls consistently show that more than 80% of New York voters support medical marijuana, and the bill has strong support among healthcare providers, patients and caregivers.  More than 70 organizations support the Compassionate Care Act, including the New York State Nurses Association, the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York, The New York Academy of Medicine, the Statewide Breast Cancer Network, the Hospice & Palliative Care Association of New York, 1 in 9: The Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition, GMHC, New York Physicians for Compassionate Care, and many more.

Senators on both sides of the aisle support the bill, and the bill is believed to have enough support to pass the Senate if brought up for a vote. The legislation has passed the Assembly five times and continues to gain support amongst elected officials. Despite this unprecedented level of support for the Compassionate Care Act, Senate leadership and Governor Cuomo continue to block the bill.

Legislators have had seventeen years to consider the bill, which has been introduced every session since 1997. Patients, providers, and caregivers are growing increasingly outraged and frustrated as the clock tick downs without deal.  If the Governor and Senate do not act by Thursday, thousands of seriously ill New Yorkers living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and other serious and debilitating conditions, will be forced to suffer another year or relocate to one of the twenty-two states that have already passed medical marijuana laws.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264

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