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Sunday, Sep 26, 2021
Mugglehead Magazine
Cannabis & psychedelics industry news based in Vancouver, B.C.
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California set to allow cannabis for terminally ill patients at hospitals

Governor Newsom vetoed similar legislation two years ago, citing conflicts between state and federal law

California one step away from allowing terminally ill patients use cannabis at hospitals
California state capitol building. Photo by Asilvero via Wikimedia Commons

For a second time, California is one signature away from allowing terminally ill patients to use cannabis at medical facilities.

On Thursday, members of the Assembly and Senate passed the Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or so-called Ryan’s Law and the bill now sits on Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk.

Bill SB 311 was introduced by Senator Ben Hueso in April this year after an almost identical law SB 305 was vetoed by Newsom two years ago arguing the bill could create significant conflicts between federal and state law.

If passed, patients seeking to consume medical cannabis would need to provide a health care facility with a copy of their medical marijuana card or written documentation. Individual facilities decide if medical cannabis use is allowed on premise or not.

Smoking and vaping would be prohibited, but any other method of consumption such as edibles, would be allowed.

In July, Hueso sent a letter to US Department of Health and Human Services secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure asking for assurance that health care providers won’t lose reimbursements for allowing cannabis use on their premises.

Medical facilities with CMS accreditation are expected to follow federal, state and local laws in order to get reimbursements. “Consequently, many healthcare facilities have adopted policies prohibiting cannabis on their grounds out of perceived risk of losing federal funding if they were to allow it,” reads the letter by Hueso.

Read more: California to update cannabis regulations

Read more: During Covid, California’s toxic trespass grows have returned to pre-legalization levels

SB 305 previously vetted by Senator Gavin Newsom was sponsored by Jim Bartell, father of Ryan Bartell. Photo via Senator Ben Hueso

Bill SB 311 was named Ryan’s Law in commemoration of 42-year-old pancreatic cancer patient Ryan Bartell who found cannabis helped manage his pain pain, but was unable to access it after being admitted to health care facilities in California.

Other states such as Connecticut and Maine have permitted use of eligible cannabis products for hospitalized patients in certain circumstances.

 

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