3 months later, is medical marijuana working?

Posted at 11:25 PM, Apr 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-14 14:55:43-04

It's been three months since the state of New York rolled out its medical marijuana program.

As of this week, according to the New York State Department of Health's website, 526 doctors are registered for the program, and more than 2600 patients are certified by the state to receive it.

Dan Ryszka, who has been advocating for medical marijuana for his kids for the past three years says he's seen a drastic difference in his children, who both suffer from severe seizures and other medical hurdles.

"He's looking around, he's vocalizing, he's doing really well," Ryszka said of his 9-year-old son, Caden who is receiving the medicine.

7 Eyewitness News has been following Ryszka and his family all the while they've been advocating for medical marijuana. Now, he's able to go down the street to Bloomfield Industries in Williamsville each month for a 30 day supply of the drug for his kids.

His children take two doses of a syrup type liquid medication each day.

"Their quality of life is better. They're happy."

Ryszka goes to Bloomfield for his medicine because the company carries the appropriate formula of the drug for Ryszka's kids, but each patient is different. 

According to health professionals, each dispensary can carry five different formulas in New York State, but for those patients who don't fit the bill, doctors say that's forcing them to drive to other dispensaries in the state to get the medicine they need.

"It's a problem that will change," said Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, MD., Medical Director at DENT Neurologic Institute. "It will take a little longer for the dispensaries to have the appropriate form of the medical marijuana which they don't have now."

PharmaCannis is one of the two medical marijuana dispensaries here in Western New York. It opened its doors January 7. General Manager Rachel Schepart agrees, there have been some hurdles in the last three months.

"There are some issues with patients getting the medicine they need," she said. "We are working with the health department to start delivery service and opening more dispensaries."

In fact, PharmaCann next week is opening its 185,000 square foot manufacturing plant downstate. Schepart says products will be made quicker and distributed faster.

One thing everyone can agree on, the medicine is life-changing.

"There's no words," said Ryszka.