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Medical Marijuana Advocates Call On Cuomo To Move Forward With Compassionate Care Act

Medical marijuana (file/credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Medical marijuana (file/credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

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ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Dozens of advocates for legalizing medical marijuana rallied in Albany Wednesday, blaming Gov. Andrew Cuomo for stalling a proposal that’s before lawmakers.

The group called on Cuomo to support passing the measure, dubbed the Compassionate Care Act, before this year’s regular legislative session concludes this week.

“I don’t understand how a politician who has no medical education or training is the one who’s deciding the treatment my son can have or not have,” said Missy Miller, whose 14-year-old son Oliver uses a wheelchair and suffers from hundreds of seizures.

Certain strains of marijuana that are low in THC, the psychoactive ingredient that gets users high, have received international attention for curbing seizures in children.

“I don’t understand how those same politicians hold my son and so many other New Yorkers who are suffering hostage,” Miller added.

Cuomo said Tuesday that even if the bill passes both chambers, he wouldn’t sign it unless some of his concerns were addressed, including a ban on marijuana smoking and the inclusion of a five-year evaluation period.

Lawmakers had made amendments to the bill on Monday in an effort to appease Cuomo, but did not include the smoking ban or the evaluation period.

The bill’s sponsors, Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, removed three conditions for which marijuana could be prescribed: diabetes, lupus and post-concussion syndrome.

Lawmakers also removed the advisory panel that would oversee the program, as Cuomo suggested, and gave more control to the state’s health commissioner.

The status of the bill remains fluid as negotiations continue among Cuomo, legislative leaders and the bill’s sponsors.

The governor has not ruled out issuing a special message that would waive the required three-day aging period for the medical marijuana legislation to come up for a vote, leaving patients and advocates hopeful that some movement on the issue can be made by Thursday.

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