According to the North Bay Journal, a new bill in California went into effect on January 1st, allowing terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana in the hospital. In September, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the “The Compassionate Access To Medical Marijuana Act” or “Ryan’s Law.” Under the new ordinance, smoking or vaping marijuana through a dab pen or the likes in a hospital is prohibited. Furthermore, there are protections within the legislation for caregivers and hospitals who may be skeptical about the law and its conflict with federal restrictions, where marijuana remains illicit as a Schedule 1 narcotic.
The concern led to wariness from healthcare professionals and hospital executives. A spokesperson for the California Hospital Association, Jan-Emerson Shea, expressed to the journal that the group was “opposed to it at first,” said the issue was a “conundrum for hospitals” as opposed to a matter of federal law or efficacy. Even though the new law’s sponsor, Senator Ben Hueso, is developing a “clean up bill” that includes a “safe harbor” provision in the original bill, which allowed hospitals to stop the program if any federal interference was suspected immediately. It is still unsure how many healthcare institutions will sign up for the program.
A spokesperson for the California Hospital Association of Health Facilities, Deborah Pacyna, expressed to the Journal that “no one will move forward” until there is more clarification. However, Hueso believes that federal interferences are “little to none,” and healthcare institutions “have the necessary authority to implement” the new ordinance. The bill was named after Ryan Bartell, who passed away from pancreatic cancer. His father, Jim Bartell, began lobbying for reform after he saw how marijuana impacted the end of his son’s life. He hopes that this bill will help “millions of families.”