Tag: Medical Marijuana States

New York: Medical Marijuana Emergency Access Bill Delivered to Governor’s Desk

New York: Medical Marijuana Emergency Access Bill Delivered to Governor’s Desk

Advocates: Not One Patient Has Yet Received Medical Marijuana and Four Children Have Died Waiting in the Past 15 Months; Cuomo Must Sign or Take Other Action to Provide Relief to Suffering Patients

ALBANY, NY — Friday, the New York State Assembly delivered to Governor Andrew Cuomo a bill to expedite access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients.  Cuomo now has ten days to sign or veto the bill.

In June, with overwhelming bipartisan support, both houses of the legislature passed A.7060 (Gottfried) / S.5086 (Griffo), directing the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible.

“The law that created New York’s medical marijuana program was passed in 2014 and is supposed to be up and running by January 2016. But there remains a real danger that many seriously ill patients will not be able to access medical marijuana, and their conditions will deteriorate, potentially jeopardizing their lives,” said Assembly sponsor Richard N. Gottfried, who chairs the Assembly Health Committee. “Many of these patients are young children with severe forms of epilepsy who have been successfully treated with particular forms of medical marijuana in other states. I have been in discussions with the Cuomo administration about the bill for months and have answered every question raised by the Governor’s staff; I am not aware of any argument against the bill.”

The bill instructs the state to issue patient cards to qualified, critically ill patients as soon as possible, making it clear that they are medical marijuana patients and affording them protection from law enforcement and child protective services.

“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.”

Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana.  Tragically, at least four children who would have likely benefited from it have died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine. Just last month, longtime medical marijuana advocate Beverly McClain, who had metastatic cancer, passed away without ever benefiting from the law she helped pass.

“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.”

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.

“As a doctor and the parent of a child with a seizure disorder, I’m disappointed the state hasn’t acted sooner to get medicine to the critically ill,” said Amy Piperato, M.D., of Thiells. “With the physician training just coming online a few weeks ago and still no system for registering patients, I’m convinced the program won’t be operational in January. The Governor should sign this bill so critically ill patients can get access as soon as possible.”

In addition, recent media accounts suggest that several of the planned dispensaries are having trouble finalizing sites. With only 20 dispensaries statewide for almost 20 million people across 54,000 square miles, the failure of even one dispensary to open is significant, especially to those who are critically ill.

“If one of the twenty dispensaries fails to open in January, that could pose a real hardship for patients who may already be facing drives over an hour to access the medicine,” said Kathy Annable of Marcellus whose daughter suffers from severe seizures. “My daughter Kaylie cannot keep waiting. We need an emergency access system so that people in life-threatening situations, like my daughter, can get medicine immediately.”

Since 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 is needed to get the full medical marijuana program up and running. The original version of New York’s medical marijuana bill included a provision to provide emergency access to medical marijuana for patients too ill to wait for the full program to become operational, but the Administration removed it during bill negotiations, leaving critically ill patients vulnerable.

Currently, those with terminal or critical illnesses and their families are forced to break the law, move to a state where medical marijuana is legally available, or watch their loved ones suffer knowing that there is a medication that could help them.

“It’s unconscionable that patients in life and death situations are still waiting to access medical marijuana,” said Julie Netherland, deputy state director at the Drug Policy Alliance. “We’re not confident that the program will be fully operational in January, and critically ill patients cannot afford additional delays. Governor Cuomo should stick by his promise to do everything in his power to get medical marijuana to children suffering from life-threatening forms of epilepsy.”


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Constitutionality of California’s New Medical Marijuana Law Challenged in Court

Constitutionality of California’s New Medical Marijuana Law Challenged in Court

SAN JOSE, CA — California’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, signed into law this month to regulate the state’s medical marijuana industry, violates the state’s constitution, a medical marijuana collective operator claims in court.

Governor Jerry Brown signed the law on Oct. 9, to establish a comprehensive legislative framework for the production, transportation and sale of medical marijuana in California.

The bipartisan group of legislators who drafted the laws says they will provide a licensing structure for the industry, establish security, worker and safety standards and protect patient access, under a combination of state and local control.

But David Armstrong claims the law violates the California Constitution because it amended a voter initiative- the 1996 Compassionate Use Act, which legalized doctor-recommended medical marijuana – without voter approval.

The Oct. 21 complaint also says federal law pre-empts the act in prohibiting possession of marijuana for any purpose. Armstrong made that claim, seemingly at odds with his job, to prevent federal complications should the state law stand, his attorney said.

Armstrong objects to the act’s restrictions on the amount of marijuana a person can grow for medical purposes, the amount of marijuana a patient’s primary caregiver can grow for medical use, and restrictions on the number of patients to whom a physician can recommend marijuana for medical use, among other things.

He also says the federal Controlled Substances Act conflicts with and pre-empts the act.

Armstrong’s attorney Nicholas Emanuel said in an interview that the full effects of the new legislation on medical marijuana dispensary operators are not yet clear, but his client thought it best to go ahead and file suit to “get a jump on things.”

“The law essentially changes everything [the operators] do,” Armstrong said. “It’s going to require the state government’s OK to participate in this activity at all, and it’s going to be up to the state’s discretion to determine who’s allowed to distribute.”

Emanuel said his client is not anti-regulation – in fact, he favors it – but he believes the act is “not the most effective way to do things,” since the act is “completely illegal under federal law.”

“To develop a coherent and realistic policy we need to have all levels of government working together, rather than this sort of patchwork regulation that we have now,” Armstrong said.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, one of the act’s primary authors, was traveling Friday and not available for comment, but his spokesman said he would be able to soon.

Armstrong seeks declaratory judgment that the law violates the California Constitution and its Business and Profession Code, that it is pre-empted by federal law, and attorney’s fees.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.