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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Parents call for medical marijuana

Rochester, N.Y. -- As the debate to legalize medical marijuana in New York state continues and the Compassionate Care Act awaits action in the senate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to develop a clinical drug trial.

The drug, Epidiolex, uses an extract from marijuana plants and could help children with epilepsy who suffer from seizures.

"This treatment is proven to work," said Christine Emerson, whose daughter Julia, 7, suffers about 80-100 seizures every month. "We just have to finally get through this barricade."

Emerson said research is always good, but said that her daughter needs treatment, not a clinical drug trial.

"Our children are suffering," Emerson said. "They're dying. And without this treatment, we don't know how many children are going to die this next year of epilepsy, not to mention all the people that suffer from cancer, HIV and AIDS, MS.

"We've suffered a broken hand, a broken nose, we have liver damage due to the pharmaceutical treatment."

The many medications her daughter is prescribed have long- and short-term side effects, Emerson said she believes medical marijuana is a natural, safer option.

"Some of the kids are 100 percent seizure free and off of pharmaceuticals," Emerson said. "There are children all over the country having really great success."

Emerson said if New York state does not pass the Compassionate Care Act, she will have no choice but to separate her family and move to a state where medical marijuana is legal.

"My husband would have would to stay behind with my 13-year-old, and I would have to move with Julia to seek medical care," Emerson said.

"We want what any parent would want, and that is a cure, said Allison Hendershot, whose daughter Molly, 9, suffers about 100 seizures each day. "We want her to get better." 

Hendershot said her family is also thinking of moving to a state that allows medical marijuana.

"Knowing that there are other children benefiting from this as a treatment option, and knowing that it's not available in New York state, that's very frustrating," she said.

Currently, Hendershot said Molly takes about 20 pills a day, and still her seizures are not under control.

"It's totally legal that I can sedate her to the point that she can't walk or talk and sleeps for an entire day," Hendershot said. "But the idea for her to use marijuana as a treatment is so unacceptable to people."

While both mothers plan to sign up for the state trial, they are skeptical that they would be selected and when it will actually get started. The FDA still needs to approval the trial.

"Quite frankly, we are running out of treatment options," Hendershot said, "We just don't know what the future holds for her."

Passed by the Assembly, the Compassionate Care Act needs to be pushed forward by the Senate Finance Committee before it goes to the floor for a vote.

 
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