Patients applaud medical marijuana plan

Patients with severe illnesses say medical marijuana could help ease their suffering. (6/19/14)

SAYVILLE - Long Islanders suffering from serious illnesses say they are happy state lawmakers have agreed to legalize medical marijuana.

Jennifer Ruta's 29-year-old daughter, Stephanie, has Lennox Gastaut Syndrome. The severe form of epilepsy means she suffers from seizures up to 300 times a day. Ruta says her daughter is on seven different kinds of medicine, has had multiple surgeries and been on special diets, but nothing has helped her. She believes medical marijuana could help ease her daughter's suffering.

"We feel it's giving Stephanie another option we haven't been able to access," says Ruta.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders announced an agreement Thursday to make certain forms of marijuana available for patients with illnesses such as cancer, AIDS and epilepsy.

The bill only allows doctors to prescribe marijuana in forms including oil-based and vapor, not smokeable marijuana. New York will be the 23rd state in the country to legalize some form of marijuana for medicinal purposes. It is the second state, after Minnesota, to do so while banning smokeable forms.

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