Starting Wednesday, chronic pain qualifies for medical marijuana in NY

March 21, 2017 11:48 PM

The state Department of Health says more than 14,683 New Yorkers are benefitting from medical marijuana treatment.

It's estimated, after Wednesday, that number could increase by thousands more and may include people, like Sue Alati, as the state allows people who suffer from chronic pain to get prescriptions.

Sue Alati, Pittsford resident: 'I just don't want to become one of those people... that in itself changes your whole life too."

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"Those people," according to Alati, are people who need lots of prescription painkillers to get through everyday life. Alati has been out of work since December.

After 40 years of nursing, severe back pain sidelined her, making it nearly impossible to do her job.

She says, "When you have back pain, you're willing to try anything... I was just telling her if someone said 'I'm going to put two long needles in and it's going to take care of everything,' I'd say get the needles ready."

Alati may be one of thousands of New Yorkers who could benefit from the expansion of medical marijuana to treat chronic pain. New York State made its use legal in September, 2014, but marijuana has not been an option for people with back pain, neuropathies, Crohn's disease, arthritis and a host of illnesses.

Dr. Len Vilensky, Upstate Pain Clinic: "Its definitely going to improve the quality of life for thousands of thousands of people in New York State."


Lynette Adams

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