Efforts to legalize marijuana in New York have gained momentum since Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a proposal earlier this month to make pot available on a limited basis to people who are seriously ill.
Donna Romano would like to swallow marijuana oil to treat her multiple sclerosis and seizure disorder. Romano could buy it if she lived in Colorado where the drug is legal and available in many different forms. But that's not an option in New York where marijuana is still illegal and possession of small amounts is a low-level violation subject to a fine. So the 58-year-old Syracuse grandmother gets marijuana from a "friend of a friend of a friend." She's been smoking it for the past three years to stop uncontrollable leg spasms that make it difficult to sleep and ease other MS symptoms. Romano says she and others with chronic illnesses want marijuana so they can function, not to get high. She said many people with pain are looking for alternatives to prescription painkillers. "People don't want to be lying on the couch, drooling from Oxycodone," she said. "We want a medication that can help us live our lives. I have grandkids. I want to be active with them. Is there something so wrong about that?"
Efforts to legalize marijuana in New York have gained momentum since Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a proposal earlier this month to make pot available on a limited basis to people who are seriously ill. Critics of Cuomo's proposal say there's limited scientific proof pot safely and effectively treats all the ailments for which people take it. They also say other approved prescription drugs often work better. But proponents of medical marijuana say there's plenty of evidence it works and is safe. How many New Yorkers will use medical marijuana is anyone's guess It is impossible to accurately estimate how many sick New Yorkers may use the drug if it is legalized, said Julie Netherland of the Drug Policy Alliance, a group pushing for legalization in New York.