Drug reform advocates across New York state are demanding emergency access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients after a 9-year-old girl who suffered from debilitating seizures died last week due to complications with her disorder.
Anna Conte, the child whose family has been at the center of New York’s medical marijuana debate for months, had a rare condition called Dravet Syndrome that caused her to experience as many as hundreds of crippling seizures every day. Children with similar conditions have successfully treated their symptoms with cannabis in states that have legalized the drug for medicinal use.
New York lawmakers passed a medical marijuana bill last month, but the law won’t go into effect for another year and a half. Since its passage, two other children with seizure disorders similar to Conte’s have also died. Advocates say these tragedies exemplify the urgent need to implement the law, and are pressuring legislators to speed up the process so terminally ill patients will be able to access medical cannabis sooner than 18 months from now.
“Several more children are likely to die waiting for New York to implement its medical marijuana program,” Judy Netherland, a spokesperson for the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement Tuesday. “While not all of these deaths can be prevented by medical marijuana, we have a moral obligation to make this medicine available as soon as possible.”
– Read the entire article at The Huffington Post.