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Medical Marijuana's Legality Bill 'Clears First Stage' From Senate Health Committee in New York

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By Daniel Joseph Cruz | May 22, 2014 4:32 PM EST

Supporters of the Compassionate Care Act, legalizing the use of medical marijuana, burst into joy as the bill has finally been cleared in Albany, New York on May 20.  The Senate Health Committee passed the Compassionate Care Act with a bipartisan vote of 9-8.

REUTERS/Andres Stapff
A marijuana home grower works on a marijuana flower in Montevideo in this March 7, 2014.

Medical marijuana advocates rejoiced with the recent tally's announcement. The supporters had been frustrated for years pushing against the Senate's opposition about clearing the bill. It was the first time the Senate Committee has cleared a bill regarding the legal use of marijuana.

Republican Sen. William Larkin of Orange County joined the other eight Democrats who voted "yes" for the bill.

"This vote is an enormous milestone in our quest to bring safe and reliable medical marijuana treatment to patients all across our state," said the bill's sponsor, state Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), in a statement. "Today, the Senate has taken a decisive first step in moving this legislation forward," Huffington Post reported.

Savino helped in improving the bill's chances by amending the bill to limit only 20 ailments to marijuana's prescription. The list includes cancer, AIDS, Parkinson's disease and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The bill is still subject to updates and changes in the future based on additional scientific researches and doctors' recommendations.

The recent vote gave hope to the advocates that the Compassionate Care Act might actually see the light of day. It will still go through a few steps before the medical marijuana bill finally becomes official and legal.

After the recent clearing in the Senate Health committee, the next step would be to make it through the finance committee for another vote.  Should it pass the finance committee, it will then be brought to the Senate floor. A recent poll revealed that a huge majority of the New Yorkers support medical marijuana's legality in the state, according to HP's report.

Meanwhile, the Senate's Republican Leader Dean Skelos supports the use of medical marijuana in oil form, but disagrees about its use through smoking.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Andres Stapff / )
A marijuana home grower works on a marijuana flower in Montevideo in this March 7, 2014.
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