Gov. Cuomo asks State Health Commissioner to speed up implementation of medical marijuana

Governor Cuomo is urging the State Health Commissioner to find a way to speed up implementation of medical marijuana, after deaths of two Western New York children with epilepsy.

In a letter, Cuomo asked Dr. Howard Zucker to review the 18-month implementation timeline and help him find a way to accelerate the process of making medical marijuana available to those who need it most.

The full text of the letter is below.

â??To Acting Health Commissioner Zucker,

The deaths this month of 9 year-old Anna Conte and 3 year-old Olivia Marie Newton of Western New York were tragic reminders of the urgent help children with epilepsy desperately need. As a father, I can only imagine the pain Anna and Oliviaâ??s parents have been going through and my thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.

I am proud that this year New York passed the Compassionate Care Act to provide relief for children struggling from epilepsy across our state.

Striking the right balance to ensure public safety and public health are protected is crucial. That said, I ask that you review the eighteen month implementation timeline to determine if there is any way to accelerate the process for this specific dire population.

I know you had an opportunity to meet with advocates this week on this very issueâ??I hope that the meeting was constructive and can be helpful to you as you move forward in this process.

Families with children struggling from epilepsy have fought for years for the passage of the Compassionate Care Act. Now that it is finally law, the children struggling with this condition deserve every consideration we can make that could potentially ease their pain and suffering.

I look forward to hearing of any progress you can make to provide relief to the children of our state living with epilepsy.


Governor Andrew M. Cuomoâ??