After months of pressure from medical cannabis advocates and public health officials, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a medical cannabis emergency access bill today that will expedite access to medical cannabis for critically ill patients.
Earlier this year New York’s full legislature gave approval to Assembly Bill 7060 and Senate Bill 5086, which directs the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical cannabis as soon as logistically possible. The bill was delivered to Governor Cuomo on October 30th, and he had signed on it the last possible day for him to do so.
“We’re heartened that Governor Cuomo did the right thing and signed this emergency bill,” said Julie Netherland, New York deputy state director at the Drug Policy Alliance. “Patients in New York are suffering, and some patients’ lives are at risk every day they are forced to wait. There’s no real victory until critically ill patients get their medicine.”
“I am so very relieved that Governor Cuomo has signed this bill,” says Missy Miller of Atlantic Beach, whose son Oliver suffers from life-threatening seizures. “I once again have hope that I will be able to offer my son the chance at significant relief. This gives Oliver and the truly sickest patients across NY the opportunity to get access to medical marijuana expeditiously, thereby relieving suffering. This has been an incredibly long and difficult process, but I have renewed faith in my home state. This will become real to me when Oliver gets the medicine he needs.”
According to DPA, “New York’s medical marijuana program is slated to become operational in January of 2016, but some fear that program will not come on line as scheduled. The state has yet to launch a system for patients to register and just unveiled the mandatory doctor training in mid-October.”