Lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly want to changes to the state’s medical marijuana law that would expand access to cannabis-based prescription drugs.

The legislation is being pushed in the final days of the legislative session to a medical marijuana program that went online in the state earlier this year, but advocates say remains too restricted for patients who could qualify for the medication.

The proposals would allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to recommend medical marijuana for their patients, while also adds chronic pain as an eligible medical condition, a move supporters say would reduce the use of opioids.

“Severe chronic pain is often treated with opioids that are much more dangerous and addictive than medical marijuana,” said Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried.

“Research in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that authorizing medical marihuana for severe chronic pain treatment reduces mortality from opioid abuse. This bill expands the list of conditions to include severe chronic pain in cases when other therapeutic interventions, including opiate therapy, are contraindicated, ineffective, or likely to have more serious side effects. It’s an important step in harm reduction and good public health policy.”

Another provision would exempt treatments for children with intractable epilepsy from the state-backed five-brand limit in order to expand access to younger patients. Supporters of the changes say the measures bring the medical marijuana closer to the original legislative intent before the 2014 agreement.

“We have serious flaws in New York’s medical marijuana program,” said Kate Hintz, parent and patient advocate. “Due to a lack of physician participation and a highly restrictive list of conditions, there are simply not enough patients able to access what was supposed to be a compassionate system.”