New York’s highly restrictive, not-cool-at-all medical weed program is expected to be enacted on January 1st. But for some patients, that’s just not soon enough. On Tuesday advocates asked lawmakers in Albany to pass emergency legislation allowing access to the healing properties of cannabis now. For many parents whose children are suffering from seizures, this isn’t even a political issue, it’s a life or death situation:

Advocates said the state’s timeline is too slow for patients who could benefit from medical marijuana for their illnesses, such as children with severe epilepsy. The state last year approved the legalization of medical marijuana for ill people in non-smokeable forms, but the system is still about six months from being up and running.

“These children and other patients cannot wait until January,” said Assembly Health Committee chairman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, who sponsors the bill.

Several families in New York said their children have died over the last year as they waited for medical marijuana to help with their illnesses.

Although the bill was ultimately approved by the Assembly, it still has to make it past the Republican-majority senate and gain approval by the sheepish governor, which means many more families will continue to wait… and suffer.