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State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-I-Buffalo, announced Monday he will support the Compassionate Care Act, which would legalize the use of medical marijuana to treat certain diseases.
Under the legislation, licensed health care professionals would strictly supervise any use of medical marijuana. This stands to be the toughest and most regulated legislation in the nation.
"To a great extent, my decision to support this legislation resulted from my conversations with the Conte family, who are constituents of mine," Grisanti explained. "Anna Conte, who is 8 years old, suffers from Dravet syndrome, an extremely rare form of epilepsy."
"Anna's illness causes seizures of such regularity and severity that her illness is considered terminal," Grisanti continued. "Marijuana could be the only drug to help her. It's time to put politics aside, and put people first."
The Conte family lives in Orchard Park.
"Our entire family applauds Sen. Grisanti for having the courage to lead on this issue that is so crucial to so many people," said Wendy Conte, Anna's mother. "Passage of this legislation will ease our daughter's suffering, as well as the daily torment those who love her go through."
In a 1997 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, editor Dr. Jerome P. Massirer explained inhaling THC - the active ingredient in marijuana - is more effective than taking the synthetic pills first approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency in 1986.
"The positive benefits of medical marijuana are well-documented," Grisanti said. "This legislation will improve the quality of life for seriously ill New Yorkers by providing them with the relief they need."