On July 7th, Governor Cuomo signed into law a medical marijuana bill that will provide relief for thousands of New Yorkers suffering from serious and debilitating conditions, including HIV and cancer.
This was an important issue for many of our members dealing with chronic health issues. Dawn Carney, a leader and Board member from our Westchester chapter, was motivated by her experience with HIV-related wasting syndrome to become involved in the campaign. She’s explained, “It is simply wrong that New Yorkers living with serious and life threatening conditions have to break the law just use a medication that relieve their symptoms.”
Jim Lister, a long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS who has used medical marijuana to cope with his symptoms and side effects from medications, expressed concern about being treating as a criminal in a Huffington Post profile. Wanda Hernandez, who also struggles with nausea and chronic pain, recently told VICE News, “Medical marijuana helps me function and do the things I do as an advocate.”
The new medical marijuana law isn’t perfect. The compromise bill signed into law unnecessarily limits the number of eligible conditions and places other restrictions on decisions that should be left up to doctors and patients. These compromises were driven by politics and are not supported by the science. (Read more about it in an excellent Daily News op-ed by Dr. Julie Netherland and gabriel sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance.)
Want to get updates about the medical marijuana law or become involved in advocacy? Please reach out our Statewide Organizer Anna Saini at anna (at) vocal-ny.org or (646) 409-4164. We’ll be working with the Compassionate Care NY campaign to continue improving the medical marijuana program and closely monitoring implementation.