It was a big day this Tuesday in Albany for medical marijuana advocates, as the Health Committee approved a bill on a 9-8 vote (with Orange County's William Larkin being the lone Republican to vote yes) legalizing the prescription of medical marijuana for certain health ailments. Senator Diane Savino of Staten Island, the bill's sponsor, listed 20 ailments including cancer, Parkinson's, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and PTSD. An advisory panel will be created to further amend the bill, and possibly add more ailments to the list if needed.

The legislation is tightly regulated however, and the bill still has a ways to go as it now heads to the Finance Committee. If it passes it could be brought to the full Senate vote before the session ends next month. This is still a very important first step.