Patients still waiting for medical marijuana access

The Williams Family, pushing for access to medical marijuana for their son Tommy.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- One day after Gov. Cuomo granted emergency access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients, many who qualify still have questions.

Local father Buc Williams wants to know who, when, where, and how much. His son Tommy suffers from severe epileptic seizures.

At one point, Tommy was seizing up to 100 times a day.

“You feel so helpless, you just want to do something to help them,” Williams told News 4.

While waiting for the Compassionate Care Act to take off in New York, the Williams family moved their son to Colorado, in hopes of obtaining medical marijuana.

However, after being told their New York State health insurance would be cancelled, they came home so that Tommy could continue to see his specialists.

Tommy is now 10-years-old, and Buc said the emergency access bill is a nice gesture, but as far as he can tell, that’s about it.

“It’s nice that the governor signed it but it seems like it’s a little too late. By the time it’s implemented and in our hands, I don’t think it’s going to come sooner than the Compassionate Car Act,” he said.

Like many of their friends with children who also quality for immediate access, the Williams’ worry about costs.

“Right now, none of it will be covered. so that the other thing we’re waiting to find out. What are they going to charge us? And who gets to make that decision and what are they basing it on?” Buc told News 4.

The State Health Commissioner makes the call on pricing, but the State Health Department declined to answer any of our questions on costs, but did mention pricing information should be available soon.

The Department also declined to answer News 4’s inquires on specifics regarding this new expedited program, like the number of operational production facilities, or the number of doctors currently able to prescribe medical marijuana.

In a statement to News 4, a Health Department spokesperson would only say:

“The registered organizations participating in the State’s Medical Marijuana Program are all growing plants and the program remains on track to begin in January 2016. The legislation signed yesterday creates a new, and entirely separate program to expedite certification for patients with serious, progressive and degenerative conditions.”

Buc told News 4 his son’s doctors are willing to write a prescription, as soon as they know when and where their patient will have access to the medication.

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