By DAVID KLEPPER
ALBANY (AP) - Dan Ryszka is a pharmacist, so he knows something about medicine. But he was still stumped when drug after drug failed to curb his children’s violent seizures. Then they joined New York’s fledgling medical marijuana program, and the attacks all but stopped.
“You go through the ABCs of medicine. Let’s try this drug, let’s try that one, let’s find one that works,” said Ryszka, a Buffalo-area resident whose 15-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son are now taking medications derived from marijuana. “We tried 10 drugs. Now, my son is off oxygen. He’s smiling. Somedays my daughter was having three to five seizures. Now it’s one a month.”
More than 7,000 New Yorkers have signed up since New York began allowing patients with certain conditions to obtain non-smokeable marijuana preparations early this year through one of the most cautious medical marijuana programs in the nation. Now, the state is looking to expand it, with plans for home delivery and more dispensaries.
State health officials say they will also allow nurse practitioners to authorize medical cannabis, and are weighing proposals to make chronic pain a qualifying condition for medical cannabis. To make it easier for patients to find doctors, the state may post an online list of physicians who participate in the program.