Activists say more access to medical marijuana needed

Apr 23, 2017

Even though it is now legal, activists say there are still many obstacles in place that keep people from gaining access to medical marijuana.

Wendy Hart is treasurer of the Western New York Chapter of NORML -- the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Hart said better education is needed of what's officially known as the Compassionate Care Act.

"Physicians don't have current information about the research that's been done and the facts that have been proven," Hart said. "Doctors are in the dark. Patients are in the dark. They're scrambling for information. So, we're trying to do what we can."

Hart said medical marijuana has helped with her recovery from cancer. However, her ex-husband has not been so fortunate fighting his cancer. Hart said her ex received treatment through Roswell Park Cancer Institute, which does not prescribe medical marijuana for cancer pain.

Eric, who declined to provide his last name, said he suffers from chronic pain and was able to obtain a card that gives him access to medical marijuana.

"It helps better than pills that they wanted me to take and everything else," Eric said, "and at this point the only problem is the price of it and getting hold of it at a reasonable price."

Eric said his costs for medical marijuana will be doubling, making it unaffordable. He said health insurance does not cover the costs. Other activists say doctors are often in the dark when it comes to the new law.

People came together for the 2nd annual 420 Freedom Festival at Delaware Park on Saturday. It was a free gathering of like-minded people fighting for legal reform in New York State.

The day included music, vendors, food trucks, speakers and other organizations sharing stories of the benefits of cannabis. Organizers hoped to open the dialog about what they called Mother Nature's Medicine.