ALBANY, N.Y. A Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill in the state Senate to legalize marijuana for medical use. Senator Vincent Leibell from Putnam and Dutchess County says the measure would let doctors prescribe marijuana to patients with life-threatening, degenerative or permanently disabling conditions.

Leibell tells the New York Post the controversial bill is not decriminalization of pot, just an exception for "a narrow part of the population under closely controlled medical standards."

The bill in the Republican-controlled state Senate differs slightly from one in the Democrat-controlled Assembly.

But Leibell and Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat, plan to hold a bipartisan news conference on the issue tomorrow -- along with T-V talk show host Montel Williams.

Williams is prescribed medical marijuana by a California doctor to help deal with his multiple sclerosis. Last year, he urged Governor Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno to follow the ten states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.