CA Lawmakers Vote to Allow Use of Medical Cannabis in Healthcare Facilities by Terminally-Ill Patients

Sacramento, CA, Sept. 11, 2019 – The California State Legislature today approved Senate Bill No. 305, authored by Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) and known as “Ryan’s Law,” which would provide compassionate access to medical cannabis in healthcare facilities for Californians who are terminally ill. Specifically, the bill prohibits certain types of healthcare facilities from interfering with a patient who is terminally ill and attempting to use medical cannabis within the facility, with certain restrictions. Ryan’s Law now heads to the Governor’s desk for consideration.

Ryan’s Law overview video:

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Even though California has approved medical cannabis use for adults and children, and legalized recreational use for adults, both state and federal law make it illegal for a patient to take medical cannabis onto hospital grounds – even if the patient possesses a valid physicians’ recommendation. Ryan’s Law seeks to close that gap by allowing those who most need compassion at the end of life to have access to medical cannabis if they possess a recommendation by a physician or a medical cannabis card.

The bill would authorize a healthcare facility to reasonably restrict the manner in which a patient stores and uses medical cannabis to ensure the safety of other patients, guests, and employees of the healthcare facility, including requiring the medical cannabis to be stored in a locked container. Smoked or vaped cannabis is expressly prohibited. The bill language provides the necessary authority for hospitals to implement this policy while ensuring the safety of other patients, medical staff and guests of the facility. It also provides a safe harbor clause allowing healthcare facilities to suspend the program if there is federal intervention.

“Ryan’s Law offers relief, compassion and dignity to Californians during the most vulnerable time of their lives,” said Sen. Hueso. “This is a simple but critical step that will have an abundance of benefits to ensure access to compassion and pain management for terminally-ill patients in California.”

SB 305 is sponsored by Jim Bartell, father of Ryan Bartell. If enacted, California will join Connecticut, Maine and New York in granting access to medical cannabis in medical facilities.