TRENTON - The New Jersey Senate passed a bill yesterday that would give chronically ill patients legal access to marijuana. The 22-16 vote followed about 15 minutes of discussion on the floor.

Advocates say medicinal marijuana has been shown to alleviate pain and nausea in patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS when other drugs fail. Critics say the measure would condone and promote illegal drug use.

The Assembly has not considered the measure. If the legislation becomes law, New Jersey will be the 14th state to allow medicinal marijuana.    - AP