Albany, N.Y. - The New York Senate is set to debate legalizing marijuana to alleviate pain and other symptoms for some severely ill patients.
The chamber is expected today to approve an agreement announced by legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
That would make New York the 23rd state to do it, but the legalized drug won't be available in New York for at least 18 months while regulations are written and state-approved producers and distributors are established.
The Democratic-led Assembly approved the bill early this morning.
Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos says he believes it will pass his chamber.
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 epilepsy, AIDS and neuropathy.