TODAY: With Clock Running Out, Patients and Caregivers Rally In Albany to Urge the Passage of Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation – the Compassionate Care Act

Press Release June 18, 2014
Media Contact

<p>Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264</p>

Albany – On what is scheduled to be the last day of New York’s legislative session, dozens of patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers will gather in Albany to deliver thousands of petition signatures urging Governor Cuomo and Senate leaders to pass the Compassionate Care Act. Although many are sick and disabled, they will travel from all over the state — New York City, Western New York,  Long Island, and Central New York — to make final pleas to the Legislature to pass the Compassionate Care Act — A.6357-D (Gottfried) / S.4406-D (Savino) – before it's too late. The bill would create one of the nation’s most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs and allow seriously ill patients access to a small amount of marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.

Yesterday, over 100 advocates rallied in Albany chanting “Pass the Compassionate Care Act” in the hopes that state lawmakers would hear their cries for compassion. The Governor, bill sponsors, and leadership in both houses are still negotiating to try and reach agreement on the bill. If an agreement is not reached by today, patients and families will be left to suffer for another year — and some will likely die before ever seeing an agreement reached. New York’s medical marijuana bill has been considered for nearly 20 years, passing in the Assembly five times, but the Governor and Senate leaders have run out the clock, leaving the decision about whether to help seriously ill patients or not to the final hours of the session.

What: Compassionate Care NY Advocacy Day and Press Conference
When: Thursday, June 19th. Press Conference: 12pm; Advocacy day: 11am – 4pm.
Location: 3rd Floor, LCA Hall, New York State Capitol, Albany, NY

Who (patients, including):

Although Governor Cuomo and Senate leaders have failed to reach an agreement yet, support for the Compassionate Care Act continues to grow. Thousands of New Yorkers have signed petitions and letters in support of the legislation, which will be delivered to leadership today. Polls consistently show that more than 80% of New York voters support medical marijuana, and the bill has strong support among healthcare providers, patients and caregivers.  More than 70 organizations support the Compassionate Care Act, including the New York State Nurses Association, the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York, The New York Academy of Medicine, the Statewide Breast Cancer Network, the Hospice & Palliative Care Association of New York, 1 in 9: The Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition, GMHC, New York Physicians for Compassionate Care, and many more.

The bill has strong bi-partisan support and is believed to have enough votes to pass the Senate if allowed to the floor. Despite this unprecedented level of support for the Compassionate Care Act, Senate leadership and Governor Cuomo continue to block the bill.

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana laws. The bill, which has been introduced every session since 1997, would create the most tightly regulated system in the country.

Patients and caregivers are outraged and frustrated as lawmakers continue to play politics with their lives and the lives of their loved ones.  If the Governor and Senate do not act today, thousands of New Yorkers living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and other serious and debilitating conditions, will be forced to suffer another year or relocate to one of the twenty-two other states that have passed medical marijuana laws.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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