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Lower Manhattan Mom Producing Documentary about Forbidden Elixir That May Save Kids' Lives

Ilka deLaat, a mother of two who lives in Battery Park City, is crowd-funding a new documentary project about the ways in which cannabis oil can improve -- and in some cases, save -- the lives of children with catastrophic medical problems.

Her film, "Our Medicine," profiles some unlikely advocates: a diverse group of parents (including a retired New York City police officer, a conservative Christian physician, and a Texas family) who have one thing in common: children who suffer from debilitating diseases that have shown some susceptibility to therapies that include cannabis oil.

"When I started researching the medical cannabis situation," Ms. deLaat says, "I quickly realized that some of the loudest voices were from parents, who were saying that, 'cannabis is keeping my child alive.'"

Ilka deLaat producer and co-director of Our Medicine

The timing of the project may be auspicious. In the recent national elections, nine states put ballot initiatives designed to broaden access to marijuana before voters, and eight of them passed, including three (in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota) that for the first time give local doctors permission to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients. (Only Arizona, where medical marijuana is already legal, declined to loosen restrictions further.) These state measures directly conflict with federal law and policy, which still characterize marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has "no currently accepted medical use" and a "high potential for abuse."

"We decided that this subject warranted a closer look into the day-to-day lives of the families who have turned to cannabis as a last resort," explains Ms. deLaat. "What are the laws that need to shift in order for patients to be able to access medical cannabis if they need it? And we explore why it's still so hard for patients across America to access medical cannabis, even in legal states." She adds that the federal government still classifies marijuana, "as more dangerous than cocaine and comparable to heroin."

She also notes that the recent spate of victories for medical-marijuana legalization, "were hard-fought and largely won not by professional lobbyists and elected officials, but by patients and caregivers on the ground. What's curious is that many of those patients and caregivers break the stereotype of the marijuana user."

"All of the families in the film have children with severe seizure disorders for whom pharmaceuticals failed," she notes. "Faced with no other option, they reluctantly turned to cannabis oil as a therapy." In each case featured in "Our Medicine," the children have shown improvement (sometimes dramatic) after treatment with cannabis oil, often with fewer side effects that more expensive, legal therapies.

Ms. deLaat is midway through production of "Our Medicine," which she expects to complete and release in 2017). In the meantime, she is in the midst of a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to finance the rest of the project.

For more information, or to view the film's trailer, please browse:

To contribute to the crowd-funding campaign, browse:

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Downtown Today

Ruth Ohman

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The whale was spotted coming up for air -- or perhaps catching a glimpse of the Manhattan skyline -- near the Holland Tunnel

Yesterday morning hundreds of birds were spotted off Exchange Place, Jersey City as the Goldman Sacks ferries York and Jersey plied the waters back and forth between North Cove and Jersey City.  Later in the day we learned a whale was spotted in the same part of the River!

November 18

"Boulevard du Temple", taken by Daguerre in 1838 in Paris, includes the earliest known candid photograph of a person. The image shows a busy street, but because the exposure had to continue for several minutes the moving traffic is not visible. At the lower left, however, a man apparently having his boots polished, and the bootblack polishing them, were motionless enough for their images to be captured.

326 - The old St. Peter's Basilica is consecrated.
401 - The Visigoths, led by king Alaric I, cross the Alps and invade northern Italy.
1095 - The Council of Clermont begins: called by Pope Urban II, it led to the First Crusade to the Holy Land..
1307 - According to legend, William Tell shoots an apple off his son's head.
1421 - A seawall at the Zuiderzee dike in the Netherlands breaks, flooding 72 villages and killing about 10,000 people. This event will be known as St. Elizabeth's flood.
1626 - The new St. Peter's Basilica is consecrated.
1865 - Mark Twain's short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is published in the New York Saturday Press.
1878 - Soprano Marie Selika Williams became the first Black artist to perform at the White House, Washington D.C.
1883 - American and Canadian railroads institute five standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times.
1928 - Release of the animated short Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, featuring the third appearances of cartoon characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.
1929 - Grand Banks earthquake: Off the south coast of Newfoundland in the Atlantic Ocean, a Richter magnitude 7.2 submarine earthquake, centered on the Grand Banks, breaks 12 submarine transatlantic telegraph cables and triggers a tsunami that destroys many south coast communities in the Burin Peninsula.
1961 - United States President John F. Kennedy sends 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam.
1963 - The f irst push-button telephone goes into service.
1978 - In Jonestown, Guyana, Jim Jones led his Peoples Temple to a mass murder-suicide that claimed 918 lives in all, 909 of them in Jonestown itself, including over 270 children. Congressman Leo Ryan is murdered by members of the Peoples Temple hours earlier.
1993 - In the United States, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is approved by the House of Representatives.
1736 - Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch, German harpsichord player and composer (d. 1800)
1787 - Louis Daguerre, French physicist and photographer, developed the daguerreotype (d. 1851)
1901 - George Gallup, American statistician and academic (d. 1984)
1923 - Alan Shepard, American admiral, pilot, and astronaut (d. 1998)
1970 - Megyn Kelly, American lawyer and journalist
1886 - Chester A. Arthur, American general, lawyer, and politician, 21st President of the United States (b. 1829)
1922 - Marcel Proust, French author and critic (b. 1871)
1962 - Niels Bohr, Danish  physicist, and academic, Nobel Prize laureate
1969 - Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., American businessman and diplomat, 44th United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom (b. 1888)
1976 - Man Ray, American-French photographer and painter (b. 1890)
1994 - Cab Calloway, American singer-songwriter and bandleader

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Arrivals and Departures

USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship

Friday, November 18
Navigator of the Seas
Inbound 3:15 pm; in port overnight
Saturday, November 19
Navigator of the Seas
Outbound 8:30 pm; Florida
Sunday, November 20
Anthem of the Seas
Inbound 5:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 3:00 pm; Florida/Bahamas
Norwegian Breakaway
Inbound 7:15 am; outbound 3:30 pm; Florida/Bahamas
Many ships pass Lower Manhattan on their way to and from the midtown passenger ship terminal.  Others may be seen on their way to or from docks in Brooklyn and Bayonne.  Stated times, when appropriate, are for passing the Colgate Clock and are based on sighting histories, published schedules and intuition. They are also subject to tides, fog, winds, freak waves, hurricanes and the whims of upper management.

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