Suffering Patients Shouldn't Be Forced To Wait

Imagine having a life-threating health issue, one that causes unbearable pain every day.  Now imagine that relief was possible and within your reach – but you were forced to wait a year before you could receive it.
That’s the horrible reality for thousands of patients across New York State, including some right here in the Finger Lakes Region. Debilitating illnesses and diseases make every day a struggle. Meanwhile, immediate access to a cure is currently being stifled by government bureaucracy. The State Department of Health (DOH) is building a medical marijuana program, and released proposed regulations on Thursday. The state program is expected to be completed by January 2016. Unfortunately for many patients, that is simply too long to wait. 
New York State has a responsibility to help patients now, while the medical marijuana program is under construction. I have written DOH Acting Commissioner Howard Zucker requesting that substances that may fall under the medical marijuana program be made available to patients as soon as possible. In addition, I will introduce legislation that establishes an emergency program, to be administered by DOH, so suffering patients will not be forced to endure a prolonged wait for the state’s medical marijuana program to be finalized.
Earlier this week, Acting Commissioner Zucker banned natural gas fracking in New York. He said he reached his decision by asking himself if he would want his family living near an area where drilling took place. His answer was “no.” 
With that in mind, my question to Acting Commissioner Zucker is this: If a member of your family were suffering, would you do everything in your power to provide immediate relief, or would you wait a year?   
Compassionate Care NY is leading the charge to generate interest and awareness about this critical public health issue. Its #MyHolidayWish campaign will help inform the public and reach elected officials to demand action. Your support is vital for the men, women and children whose only holiday wish is to finally be free of pain and out of harm’s way. I encourage all of you to visit to find out more about this critical issue and how you can help.
What do you think?  I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

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