#MyHolidayWish for Emergency Access
Over the next month, Compassionate Care New York (CCNY) will be embarking on a campaign to educate New York elected officials about the need for emergency access to medical marijuana. New York passed the Compassionate Care Act in July, an act that would implement “the most tightly controlled and strictly regulated” medical marijuana law in the United States. However, the law is being implemented over an eighteen-month period so patients won’t have access to the medicine they need until 2016.
Implementing an emergency access program will allow some critically ill patients, that have afflictions medical marijuana has a track record of helping, access to medical marijuana immediately.
Among those in most urgent need are children with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
Since Governor Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act, at least three children with treatment-resistant epilepsy have died. In July, under pressure from CCNY, Governor Cuomo directed the acting Commissioner of the Department of Health to get medicine to these children as quickly as possible. But then the administration stalled – they said they could not take action without approval from the federal Department of Justice. This unnecessary delay is costing lives.
Legal experts nationwide agree that the state can act to grant emergency access without further clarification from the DOJ. In a memo from August 2013, the DOJ made clear they would not interfere with well-regulated state programs, and states have chosen to operate their medical marijuana programs with this assurance. Therefore, New York can and must act to help those in need.
There are several solutions that the Governor can unilaterally enact, that will grant emergency access to medical marijuana. These include:
- Fast – track one or more producers in New York that can rapidly produce medical marijuana for this particular subset of patients;
- Grant legal protections to patients who are critically ill and obtain marijuana from other jurisdictions; or
- Instruct law enforcement not to arrest critically ill patients that obtain medical marijuana from other jurisdictions where it is legal
CCNY has been working with dozens of families. Every family expressed the same holiday wish: to gain access to the medicine that could save their child’s life.
CCNY will be dedicating our social media accounts to the #MyHolidayWish campaign. The campaign’s goal will be to further educate decision makers on their options for emergency access and the hundreds of suffering families they can help by granting access to medical marijuana immediately.
We encourage our CCNY family to join in on our efforts on their personal social media accounts. Remember to use the #MyHolidayWish hashtag!
Your advocacy has gotten us this far; let’s take the next step together.
The #MyHolidayWish Campaign Team