As more states legalize cannabis, questions are arising about how the plant will be used in various settings. In California, hospitals are now allowed to offer cannabis consumption to terminally ill patients. This is a huge step forward for those who need access to medical marijuana, and it will be interesting to see how this policy develops over time. Specifically, how will federal regulations impact state laws? Here is what you need to know about the California cannabis news stating hospitals are now allowing cannabis consumption in some circumstances.

What Bill Allows Cannabis Consumption for the Terminally Ill?

When Ryan Bartell passed away from pancreatic cancer at age 41 in 2018, his father, Jim Bartell, became an avid and vocal supporter of cannabis consumption for the terminally ill. Jim Bartell saw how cannabis positively impacted his son’s end of life, so he began lobbying for legislative reform that would grant terminally ill patients access to medical marijuana. On January 1, 2022, Jim Bartell’s dream to help millions of families came to life, as California Governor Gavison Newson signed Senate Bill 311–also known as the “Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act” or “Ryan’s Law.”

Essentially, this bill is designed to “support the ability of a terminally ill patient to safely use medicinal cannabis within specified health care facilities.” Health care facilities include California hospitals but omit “a chemical dependency recovery hospital or a state hospital.” It also does not include emergency room visits. 

Who Benefits from Senate Bill 311?

Senate Bill 311 is designed to benefit terminally ill patients, which the bill defines as “a medical condition resulting in a prognosis of life of one year or less, if the disease follows its natural course.” The Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act aims to reduce pain and suffering for those approaching the end of life stage by offering cannabis for pain relief in lieu of other drugs. 

What are the Limitations of “Ryan’s Law?”

Although terminally ill patients are now permitted to consume cannabis in California hospitals, the law does come with limitations. For example, terminally ill patients are prohibited from consuming cannabis by smoking or vaping marijuana through a vape pen or similar method of consumption. Additionally, for the safety of themselves and other patients, staff, and guests, patients cannot store marijuana with them. Lastly, for a terminally ill patient to receive medical marijuana in a health care facility, they must present their medical marijuana card or written documentation of their physician’s recommendation for medical cannabis consumption.

How Does This California Cannabis News Affect Federal Legislation?

California has always been somewhat of a leader when it comes to legalizing recreational and medical marijuana. However, Senate Bill 311 does raise some concerns because marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 narcotic at the federal level. While the legislation does protect caregivers, health care employees, and hospitals, there is a concern about its conflict with federal restrictions. As a result, although the bill is signed into effect, many hospitals are not yet moving forward with offering medical marijuana to terminally ill patients until more detailed instructions are provided. 

Ben Hueso, the California State Senator who introduced the bill, feels confident in its success, telling the Business Journal, “We believe the risk of federal intervention is little to none. We are confident that health care facilities have the necessary authority to implement this bill while ensuring 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.”

Green 420 Packs Keeps You Up to Date on California Cannabis News

As a leader in the cannabis packaging industry, Green 420 Pack is committed to helping you stay up-to-date on the latest cannabis news in California and beyond. As more states move to legalize cannabis consumption, more competition will hit the shelves, and it’s our goal to help your products stand out from the rest. We aim to help you position your business for success by sharing valuable information about cannabis trends, marketing strategies, labeling laws, and more. Stay connected with us on the Green 420 Pack Blog, and reach out to us with any questions about custom cannabis packaging.