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California Bill to Allow Medical Cannabis in Hospitals Heads to Governor’s Desk

terry roston

The Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or Ryan’s Law would allow patients in California with serious conditions to use non-smokable medical cannabis inside of hospitals. After receiving approval in California’s Assembly and Senate, Ryan’s Law and a bill regulating smokable hemp products both headed to the governor’s desk, amid a recall election.

If and when it’s signed by the governor, Senate Bill 311 or Ryan’s Law would allow terminally ill patients to use medical cannabis in healthcare facilities. The proposal prohibits patients, however, from inhaling or vaping herbal cannabis products. It also restricts the use of any forms of cannabis in emergency rooms.

Members of the California Assembly and Senate approved legislation and sent a bill to the Governor’s desk to allow the use of medical cannabis products within hospitals and other eligible health care facilities. 

The California State Assembly voted 57-1 to approve the bill on September 9, and the Senate approved the other chamber’s amendments in a 36-1 vote the next day.

The bill was pushed by State Senator Ben Hueso, who has fought to allow cannabis use in medical facilities for terminally ill patients repeatedly. In July, Hueso sent a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, asking them to provide clarification on whether hospitals in legal cannabis states can allow terminally ill patients to use medical cannabis without jeopardizing federal funding.

The bill “would require specified types of health care facilities to allow a terminally ill patient’s use of medicinal cannabis within the health care facility, subject to certain restrictions,” it reads. “The bill would require a patient to provide the health care facility with a copy of their medical marijuana card or written documentation that the use of medicinal cannabis is recommended by a physician. The bill would require a health care facility to reasonably restrict the manner in which a patient stores and uses medicinal cannabis to ensure the safety of other patients, guests, and employees of the health care facility, compliance with other state laws, and the safe operations of the health care facility.”

Lawmakers approved a similar bill in 2019, but it was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom who expressed concerns that it create a conflict between federal and state law. 

Representatives from both HHS and the governor’s office have recently reached out to Hueso to say they’re continuing to look into the matter.

The senator’s legislation was partly inspired by the experience of a father whose son died from cancer and was initially denied access to cannabis at a California hospital. Jim Bartell did eventually find a facility that agreed to allow the treatment, and he has said his son’s quality of life improved dramatically in those last days.

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable claims that they’ve reached an agreement and expect Governor Newsom to sign the hemp-derived CBD bill. “We’re excited to report that a final deal has been reached with Governor Gavin Newsom to move to final passage of AB 45, our long term effort to explicitly permit the retail sale of hemp-derived extracts such as CBD in California,” a U.S Hemp Roundtable release reads. However, it’s unclear if the governor will sign Ryan’s Law, as he vetoed similar legislation earlier due to confusion about federal implications.

AB 45 would allow the sale of hemp-derived CBD extracts outside of licensed cannabis dispensaries. The Senate in a 29-2 vote on Wednesday. The Assembly concurred with amendments and gave final passage to the bill in a 56-3 vote on Thursday.

The post California Bill to Allow Medical Cannabis in Hospitals Heads to Governor’s Desk appeared first on High Times.

Underground Dispensary
Author: Benjamin M. Adams

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CaliforniacannabisCannabis IndustryElectionGavin NewsomJackie McGowanJacqueline McGowanNewsrecall

California Governor Hopeful Jackie McGowan On Cannabis Reform in Newsom Recall Race

terry roston

California Governor Gavin Newsom faces off September 14 in a pivotal recall race as the state’s future hangs in the balance. Forty-six contenders appear on the ballot including Democratic challenger Jackie McGowan—who vows to make reforming California’s cannabis industry a priority including lowering taxes and restrictions.

McGowan is running against contenders such as conservative radio host Larry Elder and Republican Caitlyn Jenner. Living in Napa, she sees what she calls an “existential crisis” in the cannabis industry, announcing her bid last July. Voters have until today, September 7 to mail-in a request for a ballot, or until September 14 in-person. 

On day one, if elected, McGowan said she will sign a trio of executive orders: eliminating the cannabis cultivation tax, reducing the cannabis excise tax to 10 percent and declaring cannabis an agricultural product.

“Those three issues are paramount to offering the cannabis industry immediate relief so they can survive and begin to compete with the thriving illicit marketplace,” McGowan told High Times. “The legal market is hanging on by their fingernails and is absolutely in crisis and once I am elected, I can begin to offer them hope again.”

McGowan told the Sacramento Bee that in the beginning, she decided to run for governor because of California’s mismanagement of the cannabis industry, and since then she has since expanded her platform. High tax rates only embolden the black market, advocates say.

McGowan’s platform includes goals to decriminalize psilocybin, bolster eviction protection laws for tenants and take Nevada’s cue to legalize sex work.

If more than 50 percent of ballots returned in the September 14 special election are cast in favor of ousting Newsom, the recall candidate who receives the greatest number of votes will replace him. In the event that Governor Newsom is recalled, he would be the third American governor and second in California to be removed from office via a recall election. The last time that happened was when former governor Gray Davis was ousted and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003.

Photo credit: Jack Simpson Photography, courtesy Jackie McGowan.

McGowan has worked as a lobbyist and cannabis policy advocate for seven years, and prior to that, she spent 18 years on Wall Street, according to her campaign website. “I’m an 18 year Wall Street veteran and have worked in cannabis policy, consulting, and lobbying for the past 7 years,” McGowan said on her website. “I have had a front-row seat to how politics work at the Capitol as well as an intimate relationship with how the legalization of cannabis has been an abject failure.”

On McGowan’s website, it reads, “Question 1 – Vote NO” and “Question 2 – Vote Jacqueline McGowan.” McGowan said she would rely on executive orders as governor, rather than relying on the Democratic supermajority-controlled Legislature.

The candidate chose not to target Governor Newsom, but she ran to be sure that the power of the seat of California governor doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. “I am not going to urge you to vote yes on Question 1 on the recall ballot,” McGowan stated on her website. “But for Question 2, California must have an option that represents its spirit, and I strongly wish to be that candidate for you. I am thrilled for the chance to serve California without being tied to corporate money or party interests.”

Under Governor Newsom’s first term as governor after winning California’s 2018 gubernatorial election with nearly 62 percent of all votes cast—he has hit problems. For instance, Governor Newsom was criticized for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and other pressing issues, such as homelessness and wildfire management.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders appeared in ads urging voters to vote no on the Governor Newsom recall. President Joe Biden, who urged Californians to vote against recalling Newsom in a tweet last month.

The post California Governor Hopeful Jackie McGowan On Cannabis Reform in Newsom Recall Race appeared first on High Times.

Underground Dispensary
Author: Benjamin M. Adams

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