An overwhelming 88% of New Yorkers support legalizing medical marijuana, but medical pot legislation has thus far been curbed by the state Senate. Now, advocates across the state are planning a month-long push and series of events to encourage their elected officials to pass the Compassionate Care Act, just as some New Yorkers are moving away towards greener pastures.
The Burger family, of Buffalo, recently decided to move to Colorado to access marijuana. New York may be their home, but their daughter suffers from daily seizures and a condition known as Dravet Syndrome. High-powered prescription medications which offer little improvement and a laundry list of side effects are a far inferior choice to non-psychoactive medical marijuana—something not available in New York, but easily obtained in Colorado. Many others have used marijuana successfully to treat their children’s seizures.
“I couldn’t wait, because if she got bad again, she could die,” Don Burger told the Buffalo News.
The Burgers aren’t the only ones moving. People across the country are leaving their states where marijuana treatment is unobtainable and punishable by arrest in order to seek out the best possible natural medicine that money can buy. They are becoming known as “marijuana refugees.”
Medical marijuana advocates say the state of New York shouldn’t be sending their citizens elsewhere for life saving medicine. According to the Huffington Post, in an attempt to raise support for the Compassionate Care Act, they are launching the “March for Compassion” campaign—a month filled with events, educational meetings, and public seminars.
At the event launching the “March for Compassion”, another mother and marijuana refugee spoke up about the need for medical marijuana. Wendy Conte, whose daughter suffers from Dravet Syndrome, said:
“My family is in the process of leaving our home in Orchard Park, NY and relocating to Colorado because the New York state senate has refused to pass the Compassionate Care Act. It’s unconscionable that families like mine are forced to choose between watching our children suffer needlessly or moving out of state to get a medication that could save lives. I urge the Co-presidents Klein and Skelos to stop playing politics with our lives and bring the bill up for a vote.”
For state lawmakers in New York, the issue shouldn’t be whether they personally oppose or support medical marijuana, but what the people that put them in office support. After all, that’s the basis of our system of government. When 88% support medical pot, voting against it is a dangerous power move.