Medical Marijuana Debate in WNY

December 5, 2013 Updated Dec 5, 2013 at 7:11 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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December 5, 2013 Updated Dec 5, 2013 at 7:11 PM EDT

BUFFALO (WKBW) A proposed bill would allow for doctors in New York State to prescribe medical marijuana in instances of debilitating or life threatening conditions, under strict control. On Thursday, more than a hundred people filled city council chambers to show their support for that legislation.

"I want to make sure that if people need it, for medical purposes, it's under the supervision of a doctor, and it's strictly controlled, that we have that availability for them in the state of New York," NYS Assemblyman Raymond Walter said.

Families came out to share their personal stories, of health conditions that medicines couldn't cure, and their struggles to provide medical care for their loved ones.

Wendy Conte spoke about her daughter Anna, who has a rare and serious form of epilepsy

"We do not want to uproot our entire family to start fresh for a medication that should be available for those with debilitating and life threatening medical illnesses in New York," she said.

Susan Rusinko has Multiple Sclerosis, and admits she uses marijuana to treat her symptoms.

"If it is not something that you choose for yourself, then think about your loved one, and wouldn't you want them to have access to whatever will help them to get through a day in life with Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, HIV, AIDS," she said.

Medical professionals also gave their expert opinions on the idea of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

"These patients simply want something that might make their lives worth living for a few more days, weeks, or months," emergency physician Dr. Steve Lakomy said.

A form of this bill passed the State Assembly last year, but failed in the Senate. Critics point to potential addiction or abuse by those using marijuana recreationally.

While more public hearings and clinical trials would be necessary, many at Thursday's hearing hope that the stories of families in need will help pass the bill this coming calendar year.