9-Year-Old Girl's Death Shines Light On Debate
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9-Year-Old Girl's Death Shines Light On Debate
Posted by CN Staff on July 24, 2014 at 04:54:35 PT
By Cathy Schwartz
Source: Huffington Post
New York -- Drug reform advocates across New York state are demanding emergency access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients after a 9-year-old girl who suffered from debilitating seizures died last week due to complications with her disorder.Anna Conte, the child whose family has been at the center of New York's medical marijuana debate for months, had a rare condition called Dravet Syndrome that caused her to experience as many as hundreds of crippling seizures every day. Children with similar conditions have successfully treated their symptoms with cannabis in states that have legalized the drug for medicinal use.
New York lawmakers passed a medical marijuana bill last month, but the law won't go into effect for another year and a half. Since its passage, two other children with seizure disorders similar to Conte's have also died. Advocates say these tragedies exemplify the urgent need to implement the law, and are pressuring legislators to speed up the process so terminally ill patients will be able to access medical cannabis sooner than 18 months from now."Several more children are likely to die waiting for New York to implement its medical marijuana program," Judy Netherland, a spokesperson for the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement Tuesday. "While not all of these deaths can be prevented by medical marijuana, we have a moral obligation to make this medicine available as soon as possible."New York's medical marijuana law came to fruition after years of resistance from both conservative state lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Conte's mother, Wendy, repeatedly lobbied legislators on behalf of her daughter, and her family's story is largely credited for ultimately getting the bill to pass."Her courage, and the courage of her family, directly led to my sponsorship of legalized medical marijuana in New York," said State Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo), one of the first Republican lawmakers to publicly support the medical cannabis bill, in a statement following Conte's passing. "She was a courageous little girl, who suffered as no child ever should."Strains of medical marijuana that are high in cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive ingredient that doesn't cause users to feel "high," have proven extremely effective in treating seizure disorders. Rather than smoking, patients ingest the drug in pill or liquid form, making it accessible for young people.As a result, families are flocking to states like Colorado, where a special strain of cannabis known as "Charlotte's Web" has been used successfully by hundreds of children, and California, where kids are experiencing the benefits of similar treatments. (Conte's own family had been in the process of relocating to Colorado from Buffalo, New York, before New York's medical marijuana bill passed.)Doctors who have used high-cannabidiol medical marijuana on their young patients have marveled at the drug's efficacy. "It's completely remarkable," Colorado-based Dr. Margaret Gedde told The Huffington Post earlier this year.One of Gedde's patients, 10-year-old Zaki Jackson, used to endure thousands of seizures every day. He had been prescribed 17 different pharmaceutical medications, which caused side effects like weight gain and insomnia but failed to stop the seizures. He then tried the "Charlotte's Web" strain of cannabis, and has been seizure-free since beginning his medical marijuana treatment more than a year ago."He's now able to start developing as a normal child. He's a delightful, charming kid," Gedde said. "Before that he couldn't even be in contact with people. It was a dramatic, complete change."Success stories like Jackson's have inspired other states to follow suit. In recent months, similar efforts have gained momentum even in conservative states: Georgia is exploring using medical marijuana in clinical trials to treat seizure disorders, and Florida passed a limited-access cannabis law earlier this month.Through her grief, Wendy Conte vows to continue to fight on behalf of other sick children in New York, joining Judy Netherland's call for lawmakers to establish an emergency access program for patients with chronic conditions."They can figure out a way to get this done," she told the Buffalo News. "If they truly want to help these children, they’ll find a way."Source: Huffington Post (NY)Author: Cathy SchwartzPublished: July 23, 2014Copyright: 2014, LLC Contact: scoop huffingtonpost.comWebsite:  Medical Marijuana  Archives
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on July 26, 2014 at 13:30:13 PT
"There is none so blind
as he who will not see."I just cannot imagine how they, prohibitionists in every walk of life, and especially politicians, can just cling and cling to a really stupid attitude toward cannabis... and REALITY. Their "War" on weed, and even real drugs, has always been dreadful. This isn't the first time that prohibitionists have been directly responsible for the death of a little girl. They've killed little boys, too. Of course.It's been inhumane. They're like children, squeezing their eyes shut, sticking their fingers in their ears, and chanting nonsense.It's so sad. So horrible. It always has been and I guess, although it's obviously getting better in some places, I fear it always will be, to one degree or another. I suppose we will always have the spoiled, stubborn, selfish children masquerading as lawmakers and representatives of the will of not just a few people. They lack commonsense. They obviously don't know right from wrong. They lack mercy. They believe lies and call the truth a lie. They make think themselves "Steadfast"... but there is such a thing as "Steadfastly wrong." They are the picture of it.Cannabis is an herb. A plant. One may think it has a drug like effect, but it's still an herb. An herb that can help people. An herb that can help children. An herb that can be used as an astonishingly beneficial medicine. But there's personal hatred involved involved for some people when cannabis comes to mind. And vows. And some will not hear the truth.Oh yes... and they have to accept that they killed and destroyed many people's lives because of and over a lie. They should be ashamed and ask people's forgiveness. Maybe they should humble themselves before all of us about this and make an effort to change their hard headed ways. They call those who are telling the truth, "Liars", while they swallowed the real lie, "Hook, line, and sinker". "Lock, stock, and barrel." They believed, and still do, apparently, a lie straight from the laughing, mocking heart of darkness itself.
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on July 24, 2014 at 13:16:26 PT
NY opted out of alcohol prohibition by repealing their state alcohol laws in 1923.  They could do this again today by simply repealing state cannabis laws.>>>In the spring of 1923, Prohibition became the most pressing issue in New York when the state Legislature repealed a law, called the Mullan-Gage Act, requiring local police to assist the feds in enforcing the ban on drink. The enforcement act was wildly unpopular. A Bronx judge complained that the legislation was responsible for "acts of unprecedented violence and lawlessness" as well as "a more general use of drugs and narcotics".Repeal of Mullan-Gage landed on Smith's desk in early May, 1923, and after some uncharacteristic waffling, Smith signed the bill on June 1. New York thus became the first state in the union to secede from Prohibition enforcement. If the feds wished to prosecute drinkers and their suppliers, that was their right. But New York's police and courts would, in essence, look the other way.Smith's actions in 1923 marked a turning point in the war on drink. Five states quickly followed New York's lead, placing the burden of Prohibition enforcement on the federal government. The crushing expense of denying Americans their daily dose led, in part, to repeal of this peculiar experiment in 1933.
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on July 24, 2014 at 13:15:53 PT:
So much for their vaunted concern for children
Filthy, murdering swine. For that's just what this was, premeditated murder. And every prohibitionist has invisible blood dripping from their hands, for this and other sins committed in the name of all those who have suffered and died thanks to the prohibitionist denial of the reality of medicinal cannabis.People they make so much noise about being 'concerned' for. Namely, the very children they want to 'save'.Another casualty of the culture war against freedom and life, itself. How many more must needlessly die before these monsters are dragged down from their faux moral heights and made to pay for what they've done?
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on July 24, 2014 at 07:41:26 PT
It could be no more obvious!
I meant to say. 
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on July 24, 2014 at 07:39:34 PT
I could no be more obvious!
These pharmaceutical manufacturers are willing to see children suffer and die rather than give up one cent of their profits! They continue to bribe corrupt politicians to do their bidding. Murderers That's what! politicians that keep medicine from kids for bribes. Murder most foul!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 24, 2014 at 04:56:36 PT
Stop This Insanity!
We are patient because we are forced by the system to be patient but enough is enough. I feel so bad for this family.
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