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Medical Marijuana Advocates Outraged At New York Governor’s Proposal


new york governor andrew cuomo cannabisYesterday, the Buffalo News reported on an agreement with Britain-based GW Pharmaceuticals to pursue clinical trials in New York for Epidiolex, a investigational new marijuana-derived drug that is intended for children with severe seizure disorders. The proposal is limited to research studies only, must go through the lengthy FDA-approval process, and would be focused solely on children under 18 years of age with severe seizure disorders who have not responded to other medications. The research study is not the same thing as a patient access system for medical marijuana – such as the one outlined in the Compassionate Care Act (S.4406B-Savino/A.6357B-Gottfried). The research trials would not allow eligible patients in New York to access medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.  Rather, only a very small, select group of patients – likely limited to a few dozen -  who qualify for the research trial would be allowed access into the study.

Patients, caregivers and physicians –  frustrated with Gov. Cuomo’s failure to support real solutions –  reacted strongly to the proposed  trials.

Wendy Conte of Orchard Park, whose daughter Anna suffers from a severe seizure disorder, said: “I’m tired of politicians who claim they want to help our kids and then propose unworkable solutions. My child almost died last night, and every time she has a seizure, it could be her last. We don’t need a limited research program that will only help the lucky few who can get in enrolled.  Epidiolex may not even work for every kid who has a seizure disorder. We want options. And we want a workable system that creates access for all patients needs — not just my daughter but all those living with epilepsy, cancer, MS, HIV/AIDS, and other serious illnesses.  If Governor Cuomo wants to help Anna, he would support the Compassionate Care Act.”

Christine Emerson of Rochester, whose daughter suffers from life-threatening seizures, said: “It’s time to stop playing politics with our kids’ lives. My daughter Julia doesn’t need research, she needs a workable medical marijuana system. An Epidiolex trial and the 30 year-old Olivieri proposal will help few, if any, New Yorkers. Why would we head down a failed path that we know is going to leave many sick and suffering New Yorkers behind, when we could pass a well-crafted, well regulated, and comprehensive bill? Time is running out — for my daughter, my friends with cancer, and so many other seriously ill New Yorkers.  How many more people have to suffer or die before the Governor and legislature pass the Compassionate Care Act?”

Richard Carlton, MD, of Port Washington, said. “As a caregiver to my wife with Parkinson’s, and as a physician, I am profoundly disappointed to see Governor Cuomo supporting this limited research proposal instead of the Compassionate Care Act. I’m all for more research, but my patients and my wife need a comprehensive medical marijuana program that will give doctors and patients the flexibility they need to treat their illnesses. A research study cannot replace a system of care for patents in need. As an example, the Governor is proposing that a private company supply a preparation of pure cannabidiol (CBD) to treat children with intractable epilepsy. However, physicians experienced in this field know from experience that most children with intractable epilepsy require that a small amount of THC be added to the mix (often in a ratio of 10:1 CBD to THC). The Governor does not have the training to understand the receptor-mediated as well as the non-receptor mediated effects of the various cannabinoids and their ‘entourage’ effects. The Governor should stop attempting to ‘play doctor’, and, instead, should leave it up to licensed health professionals to determine which cannabinoid products, and in which ratios, are best for their individual patients. If Governor Cuomo really wants to help sick New Yorkers, he would support the Compassionate Care Act.”

Sunil Aggarwal, MD, PhD, of New York City, co-chair of NY Physicians for Compassionate Care, which represents more than 600 New York doctors who support medical marijuana, said: “The Governor’s proposal is unworkable as a system to create patient access for New Yorkers in need. It may work as a research program, but we know that research programs are expensive and only help the very few patients lucky enough to be enrolled. The science on the efficacy of medical cannabis is clear.  The Governor of New York State, rather than partnering with in-state producers to produce cannabis, would rather contract cannabis production for medical research out to an off-shore European pharmaceutical company.  That’s not very sustainable.  For research, that is a fine idea.  But medical marijuana access for patients in New York should not be left simply to a research program that will put cannabis in the hands of less than one percent of patient population who could benefit. What New York needs is a well-regulated system that allows seriously ill and debilitated patients — people living with cancer, MS, epilepsy, and a range of other conditions — to use medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider. The Compassionate Care Act is designed to do just that.”

Howard Grossman, MD, Co-chair of NY Physicians for Compassionate Care, said: “More research on medical marijuana is always welcome. But the Governor’s research program simply will not help the thousands of New Yorkers living with serious illnesses and debilitating conditions who need medical marijuana to relieve their suffering.  Many patients who need medical marijuana will be too ill to travel to one of the few research sites. Maryland tried to implement a program very similar to the one Governor Cuomo has proposed, and not one patient ever received medical marijuana under that program because of the bureaucratic barriers.  In fact, that state ended up passing a comprehensive medical marijuana bill, recognizing that their research program approach, like the one the Governor Cuomo has proposed, was an abysmal failure. New York should not go down that failed path; it should pass the Compassionate Care Act — a tightly regulated and comprehensive bill that would ensure patents who can benefit from medical cannabis have access.”

Donna Romano of Syracuse, who is living with multiple sclerosis, said: “Governor Cuomo says he wants to help patients, but what he’s proposing is a limited research program that would only help a few patients, and only those who are able to travel to one of the few participating hospitals and then who are lucky enough get enrolled in the study. What about the thousands of New Yorkers, like me, who are living with MS, or the thousands of terminally ill cancer patients or others who are too sick travel, or the kids who won’t benefit from Epidiolex? I’m clear on how the Governor can help sick and suffering New Yorkers.  He can support the Compassionate Care Act, which is a comprehensive piece  of legislation that won’t leave our sickest and most vulnerable citizens behind.”

Nancy Rivera of Troy, a four time cancer survivor, said: “I’m disappointed that Governor Cuomo has proposed another program that will leave patients behind. The legislature has a well written and comprehensive bill before it called the Compassionate Care Act.  A research program, like what the Governor proposed, isn’t the same thing as a system for making sure that seriously ill New Yorkers who can benefit from medical marijuana have access to it.  Frankly, it sounds to me like a political ploy, not a real solution. If the Governor wants to help cancer patients and others who continue suffer needlessly because they can’t access a medicine that would help them, he should get behind the Compassionate Care Act.”

Dawn Carney of Mt Vernon, who is living with HIV, said: “As a person living with HIV for 20 years, I’m frustrated that Governor Cuomo continues to push for limited medical marijuana research programs rather than supporting a comprehensive solution, like the Compassionate Care Act. Research is fine, but it will leave behind thousands of New Yorkers, like me, who are living with serious, chronic and debilitating diseases. What we need is a workable system that allows all those with seriously illnesses who might benefit from medical marijuana to have access under the supervision of their doctor. The GW trial won’t do that. The Olivieri program won’t do that.  The Compassionate Care Act will.”

Momentum for the Compassionate Care Act continues to build. A poll from Quinnipiac University released last week found that a super majority (83%) of New York voters support medical marijuana. The Assembly has passed the bill by wide margins five times – including last week with bipartisan support — and included the Compassionate Care Act in their budget bill earlier this session. Two weeks ago, the Senate Health  Committee voted in favor of the Senate version of the bill and advanced it to the Finance Committee. The bill has strong bipartisan support in the Senate, with three Republican co-sponsors (Senators Robach, Grisanti, Maziarz) while  Senator John Bonacic,  (R-Middletown),  Senator Tim O’Mara (R, C – Big Flats, Elmira), and Senator Larkin have all expressed their support.

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. Hey Tea Party here is an easy target. Won’t be hard to knock this guy out of office. He does not respond to the will of the people.

  2. http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/new-york/2014/06/09/medical-marijuana-bill-faces-setback-ny-senate/10261077/

    I am a New Yorker ,, Born and raised in Brooklyn ,, I am deeply ashamed of the politics’ being played out on the backs of the ill in my home state. I am now in Florida and it looks better legislatively here than it dose in NY. At least we have a constitutional amendment that “IS PASSING” in Nov. And our legislators can do nothing about it. Even our implantation’s can not be stalled by them as it has mandates / time frames that are within the amendment.
    “Harlequin” strain, here I come.
    Sorry NY to be the bearer of this News ,, I say take it to the streets ,, as we did in the 60’s & 70’s

    ALBANY – A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in New York suffered a major setback Monday, as a high-ranking state senator said he has no plans to move it out of a committee he controls.ALBANY – A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in New York suffered a major setback Monday, as a high-ranking state senator said he has no plans to move it out of a committee he controls.

    Senate Finance Committee chairman John DeFrancisco on Monday said the legislation wouldn’t be put to a vote in his committee, saying too many uncertainties remain about the drug. DeFrancisco’s comments came the same day Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters he would sign a medical marijuana bill — so long as it “makes sense.”

    DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, told Gannett’s Albany Bureau that the bill being pushed by advocates in the Legislature has too many unanswered questions. The measure is sponsored by Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island.

    “The Savino bill will not come out of my committee, the Finance Committee,” he said. “You don’t have any kind of reasonable research on the effects. You have people coming in here every day trying to ban e-cigarettes and use of tobacco in other ways.”

  3. I hope that won’t be a problem for you by this time next year. I’m dealing with a different ailment, but also must take 2 prescriptions that take a toll on my liver. THC works well, but I’m finding the strains with higher CBD work better and longer. Inflammation and nerve pain are my nemesis, but I have to watch the blood stats too and so far so good. My blog is at http://cannagramma.com/

    It’s really geared to newbies, but you may enjoy and pick up a thing or two, or have a laugh. Be well!

  4. Thanks for the info on other strains. If there is any way you could advise where I can read your blog, please let me know. If there is any way I can assist you with the use of MMJ and HCV, just let me know also. My biggest problem is my affiliation with Law Enforcement (retired) and every source in my area knows of it.
    I am also a member of L E A P.

  5. Thanks for the info! You have sparked me to write a blog post. I’ve utilized Harlequin, and agree with your assessment. I found a couple of others that are very similar. I hope you have choices galore in short time when MMJ passes in your state this year. When you do look for Champagne, Flo, and Catatonic. Jack Herer too. They are similar. Be well!

  6. Yes,,, When I can get it. Very hard, if ever in Florida. I particular don’t care for the overly euphoric THC. but that’s me. I care for the low end, but high in CBD. For me it is just the right mix.
    Works well on the inflammatory joint pain, keeps my CRP & Sed Rate down with my Liver Function results staying in a good consistent range, it also slows down my GI track, good appetite and body evac. functions also I sleep very well. Plus much more, as in just coping w/ HCV along with the feeling of well being. For HCV the less meds the better.
    Which is why HCV is usually #5 on any approved list.
    I must be careful in regards to any adulteration, or the wrong growth chems and pesticides. As any misguided substances added or used can cause Hepa-toxicity, which is not good.

  7. I’m gay and i am not homophobic, I really dislike Houmo! Mind your own affairs Steven!

  8. Joy, Or whoever you are pretending to be wrote both of these bogus stories in a attempt to scam the fine readers of the weed blog. You got infected by the nature of your job!? You mean your a whore, Not all dancers whore themselves out. Its clear what your motives are. Troll on to another website where people might believe your tripe.

  9. How true,, any company for any product, that reports on itself with blatant self-accolades’ is a big red flag and only self serving. I found that out since 2003 when I was looking at the new HCV meds. You should see how, while in phase II they would swear they had the Holy Grail of HCV cures. Only to later discontinue research. Never the less I bought some of Vertex (one of the most forthcoming drugs). The stock went up 251%, then I dumped it when I saw the other Pharmas’ and their drugs which later drove down Vertex. I fear the same will happen with MMJ meds. The makers of Merinol are in Phase III studies for pain management, which some Dr.’s are using off label. They also received fast track from the FDA. I foresee no great move by the FDA until these Pharma drugs are available to be dispensed via Walgreen’s or CVS (etc).
    On a G W Pharma note; they hooked up with that marketing company even before they got the Fast Track Designation. It is forecasted to be approved in later 2014 or very early 2015. In the countries that have approved, it goes for about $190.00 US a bottle and two sprays a day equal about a month supply.
    Me I keep searching for the Haraiquil (sp) strain, 4-7% THC w/ >15% CBD. Good mix for HCV,,, Thank you Israel.
    My Home Depot Parking Lot Pharmacy does not carry it, only some of the legal states.

  10. Doc Deadhead on

    This is just another way to circumvent the voters and the will of the people. 70%+ of New Yorkers are in favor of a REAL medical marijuana bill but the haters got what they wanted.

    He legalizes this crappy bill and no one can get a REAL medical marijuana proposal to the ballot without a massive effort.

    This stops the ‘compassionate’ politicians in New York from getting a better bill through.

    He is a pot hater…………….vote out all pot haters this fall

    In almost his own words…..”New York is no place for haters”!

  11. Stock sites are a good source of info, but you have to be careful to not read what the companies say about themselves. Yikes, have you seen some of the CBD oil companies and how they talk about themselves? Down right shameful.

  12. yelnick Mcwawa on

    marijuana will not be legalized until big pharma can get it’s greedy, good for nothing hands all over it. i am sure they are coming up with a strain that has nothing but nasty side effects. like most of the so called medicine’s they produce. i still think the majority of today’s medicines are placebo’s anyway.

  13. Scott Eaton on

    That smile is because he’s waiting for his big fat check from big pharm !!

  14. Scott Eaton on

    He is the spitting image of our FAT Swine Gov. Chris Christie…….He Want to see you children dead and only wants his alive…….That’s what a bully doe’s………GET RID OF CHRISTIE AND HOUMO

  15. Cuomo is a worthless double talking piece of trash, he should have been thrown out of office years ago, let’s throw him out of office now and make up for lost time.

  16. Littlegrey2 on

    He has fooled himself into thinking this will help his public Image. The REALITY Mr. Cuomo is Marijuana is here to stay and you are alienating yourself from the new MAJORITY VOTE. So put that on your resume and read it!

  17. careful , you will have to apologize endlessly for that ” disgusting homophobic slur”

  18. Time for cuomo to Go…i’m gonna vote his moronic attitude out of office…

  19. GW ,,, has received a fast track “IND Fast Track Designation” from the FDA. It’s already in stage 3a trials here in the USA for cancer pain,, (I applied,, HCV not yet). Guess where some of these trials is taking place ,,,, ready,,,, 4 locations here in Florida. They have already signed an agreement with a Japanese Marketing Co ??. for sales and distribution in the USA, and it’s not even approved yet. They grow in a country (Britain) where it is illegal, by some odd act of the Parliament.. It is already legal in 28 countries already, and some where cannabis is illegal. They have very deep pockets.
    Some times you can get more info from the stock market wires than you can from the MMJ sites.

  20. Abigail Daniel on

    I can’t stand most politicians or big Pharmaceutical companies. They’re all corrupt. They just want to get in on the newest thing in medicine, just so they can keep lining their pockets, either that or they’re trying to ruin a good thing.

  21. I don’t have real heartburn for GW. At least they’re growing their own and making meds from whole plants. But I do understand what you mean, and totally agree.

    This will be the second trial I’ve heard about concerning permission from our gov’t allowing GW to do clinical trials in the US using whole plant extracted cannabinoids. The other was Sativex, a sub lingual THC/CBD spray used in Canada and the UK by people with MS. I have to admit, this is a small step forward. And I find it unusual it is a foreign Pharma Co.

  22. I’m getting sick of seeing “GW Pharm” moved around the nation from state to state as the magic bullet used by slimey politicians to placate patients in need. Nate Deal is trying it in Georgia. Cuomo is trying in NY. Rick Scott is tryng in FL.

    We go to our duly elected representatives and say to them “We need a comprehensive solution that can help as many people as possible, cheaply” and they come back at us and say “Well here’s a very limited solution that will help about 100 people sometime in the next five years, which will develop a single medicine that GW Pharm will be able to charge through the nose to produce — in another country.”

    That’s total bull. That’s not a compromise, at all!!!

    Cuomo needs to stop acting like GW Pharm’s personal lick-spittle and act like he’s the friggin GOVERNOR of one of the most highly populated states in the country. Otherwise, he’s going to lose his job. Period. The patients and caregivers in NY are *not* being silent or overly polite about this nonsense. Cuomo will lose his job (and his designs on the Presidency) if he doesn’t get his ducks in a row and do what his ACTUAL constituents want, and not just his campaign donors.

    Sorry, Governor, but you have two options here: hero or scum of the earth. Pick one.

  23. But, the propaganda media tries to sell us on the idea that big pharma is not trying to hold back medical marijuana. Yeah, right.
    Big pharma, and the prison industrial complex, would like to thank the governor for taking their money.

  24. Come on, Gov. Cuomo. Compassion show to less than one percent of your state’s patients in need, and leaving the others behind is not compassion at all. It’s ridiculous and reeks of a decision influenced by SAM. I can understand caution with a new pharmaceutical, but this much caution with a substance that has a longer track record than, well, ANY PHARMACEUTICAL, is just plain stupidity.

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