Local reaction to medical marijuana deal

Updated: 06/19/2014 11:46 PM
Created: 06/19/2014 11:43 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

Lawmakers say in the bill, the drug would be administered by doctors under the direction of the state's health department.

We're told it will only be available for severely ill people with certain medical conditions, Including Cancer, HIV and Aids, ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Huntington’s disease.

Many people suffering from other serious conditions say theirs was left off the list, and this bill does nothing to help them.

There is some disappointment that this measure won't help more people who suffer from persistent and chronic pain, like Karla Raleigh, who has Rheumatoid Arthritis. But even a breast survivor who was in Albany Thursday, when the agreement was reached, says this is only a beginning.

“I woke up one morning and I couldn't move my neck.”

Karla Raleigh considered herself a typical single mom, healthy and active. But after weeks of pain and changes in her body, she knew something was wrong.

“It was just devastating. The next thing you know your life is just turned upside down and all the things you used to do you can't do anymore. Like I said I had to struggle to go to work every day. I was exhausted, I was in pain,” said Raleigh.

Doctors couldn't come up with an explanation at first. When she could no longer handle the pain, Raleigh did her own research and every symptom pointed to Rheumatoid Arthritis. When a doctor confirmed it and prescribed a ton of pills, Raleigh began to pay attention to the medical marijuana debate. Thinking it could be an answer, but Thursday, disappointment, her disorder isn't on the list.

“I don't think this is a decision that somebody in Albany can say oh you can have this or no you can't. I think this is a decision you have to make with your physician and I’m just very disappointed that a lot of illnesses were taken off the list that need to be on there,” said Raleigh.

It was a similar reaction from Marianne Sargent, the advocacy chair of the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester and a breast cancer survivor. Sargent hopes this bill doesn't stop here.

“As we celebrate this first step hopefully we can look forward to having the bill move on in the future and it will encompass other individuals as well,” said Sargent.

While the list does not include some ailments, it does say ailments added by the commission or Department of Health would be considered.

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