ALBANY, N.Y. (AP/WBEN) - The New York Senate has voted to legalize marijuana to alleviate pain and other symptoms for some severely ill patients.
The 49-10 approval follows the 113-13 vote earlier Friday by the Assembly for the compromise among legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
That will make New York the 23rd state to legalize, but the drug won't be available in New York for at least 18 months while regulations are written and five state-approved producers and distributors are chosen.
Many senators say it will help alleviate suffering of children with seizures.
"You take a look at the FDA, and the FDA is doing absolutely nothing," said Senator Mark Grisanti. "You take a look at the parents of these children who have pediatric epilepsy, that are on up to 17 different prescription medications, and these medications for these children are not working, and the side effects to some of these medications are even more debilitating than what the child has to begin with."
The bill doesn't allow the drug to be sold in plant form or smoked. It could be administered through a vaporizer or in an oil base.
Marijuana could be prescribed for 10 diseases, including cancer, epilepsy, AIDS and neuropathy.