Cuomo asks for quick implementation of medical marijuana for epileptic children

Updated: 07/30/2014 6:00 PM
Created: 07/30/2014 6:20 AM WHEC.com
By: Rebecca Fath

Medical marijuana is coming to New York. Right now, Governor Cuomo wants it available sooner than later. 

On Wednesday, He sent a letter to the state's health department Wednesday morning. He says the medication should be available to children sooner than the 18 months that it is expected to take.

Cuomo says he is acting after hearing from concerned parents of epileptic children. He also says the recent deaths of the two children show the need for medical marijuana to treat seizures.

Today is a good day for seven-year-old Julia Emerson, but that can all change in a heartbeat when an illness takes over.

Christine Emerson, Julia’s mom, said, “She is unconscious, she has fallen down and injured herself.”

Julia has a form of epilepsy, which her mother, Christine, says causes up to 100 seizures a month.

Emerson said, “You feel absolutely, utterly helpless and it is your child. It is just devastating. You can't do anything at all until the seizure passes.”

Julia faces several side effects from current medications, including hair loss.

Emerson said, “She's currently on a benzodiazepine, which is not something you want to give to anyone, including children. It is highly addictive and it alters her personality.”

That's why Emerson wants Governor Cuomo to fight harder for her daughter to have access to medical marijuana.

Emerson said, “There are no side effects essentially to the medical cannabis that we are looking for our children.”

Many who support the drug want state leaders to make it available faster.

Marianne Sargent, cancer survivor, said, “What I would like to see right now is for him to step up and be a leader.  Don't request them. You're in charge. For these individuals, we are talking about a life and death situation. We do not have time to wait.”

Emerson said, “Give us some hope that there is life beyond deadly seizures and horrible pharmaceuticals.”

Doctors say this form of marijuana has a low level of THC, so it is not something that will make kids high.

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