Women in New York State would have the option to treat debilitating menstrual cramps with medical marijuana under new legislation sponsored by New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal.

The bill sailed through the Assembly's Health Committee this week, by a vote of 21-2. A spokeswoman for Rosenthal said that it's likely to go to full vote this month. Her office is still seeking a Senate sponsor for the legislation. "It's very treacherous over there these days," Rosenthal told Gothamist on Thursday. "But they did pass medical marijuana, right?"

"Midol cannot be the pinnacle of menstrual cramp treatment," she added. "We women demand more; we demand access to pain relieving medication that is safe and effective at relieving menstrual cramps."

In the absence of reliable alternatives, Rosenthal predicts that some women will use opioids, which are addictive and increasingly prevalent in New York. "Let's rely on a more peaceful method," she said.

About 20 percent of women who suffer from period cramps experience extreme dysmenorrhea that limits their ability to go about daily tasks, Newsweek reports.

Under current law, New York's medical marijuana guidelines are narrow. Only patients with one of eleven "severe, debilitating, or life-threatening conditions" can apply—cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal-cord injury with spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, Huntington's disease or, more recently, chronic pain. Patients also need to have an "associated or complicating condition" such as severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, or seizures. For comparison, California allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for any ailment.

New York also has strict regulations on how the marijuana can be consumed (only as an extract), and patients have argued that there are too few dispensaries in New York, too widely dispersed. New York City has been allotted four, in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.

Medical marijuana is also not covered by health insurance in New York State, though the state pledged to start waiving a $50 patient and caregiver application fee for those with "financial hardship" last summer.

Rosenthal said Thursday that she'd like to see broader reforms to New York's medical marijuana guidelines, beyond simply adding dysmenorrhea to the list of approved conditions. Today, the Times Union reports that the State Department of Health is working to double the number of registered dispensaries to ten, even as the five currently registered dispensaries sue in court to block the expansion. The state also recently began offering home delivery.

"Ideally it would be widely, widely available," Rosenthal said. "Hopefully the issues with the dispensaries themselves will be resolved while this bill is being hammered out."

Rosenthal recently passed legislation eliminating the tax on feminine hygiene products. Other bills up for consideration would provide free tampons in schools, prisons, and homeless shelters. "Women's issues have not been approached for the longest time because it's generally been men that run government," she said.

Rosenthal crafted the bill with actress Whoopi Goldberg, who also happens to have her own line of medical marijuana products for menstrual pain.

"I'm glad to see states like New York starting to get serious about this," Goldberg stated in release issued by Rosenthal's office.