Governor Considering California Bills On Smokable Hemp, CBD Foods, & Cannabis in Hospitals
Two major bills were approved and sent to the Governor’s desk earlier this week in California, both with significant implications for the cannabis industry.
The first allows hemp-derived CBD sales and removes restrictions on smokable hemp products entirely – it’s not clear whether these new regulations will prompt more manufacturers to enter into this competitive space or if they’ll simply provide relief from existing rules which had made investing difficult until now.
The other measure passed requires hospitals to allow medical marijuana use by certain patients who are unable (or unwilling) otherwise due to hospital policy.
State Sen. Ben Hueso (D) has been pushing for his measure to allow cannabis use in medical facilities for terminally ill patients for quite some time now. He recently penned the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in an attempt to determine whether the policy change might jeopardize federal funding for those medical facilities.
The Senator’s bill to ensure hospitals can allow some patients to use medical cannabis cleared the Assembly in a 57-1 vote on Thursday. Furthermore, the Senate signed off on the other chamber’s recent amendments on Friday in a 36-1 vote.
“For many Californians, particularly terminally-ill patients, medicinal cannabis is a preferred alternative to other drugs, providing therapeutic relief without the caveats that may come with other medicines,” Eddie Franco, the manager of the legislative and regulatory affairs at CCIA, said to Marijuana Moment.
The bill showcases “an opportunity for California to continue to lead the way in cannabis regulation and reform,” Franco said.
The prospect of marijuana consumption in health facilities has led to confusion and uncertainty among pro-legalization advocates, such as Newsom who vetoed an earlier bill meant to address this issue last year. The governor’s office recently reached out with a statement to say that they’re continuing their review on the matter while representatives from HHS have also expressed interest in how it might play out under new regulations or policy changes at the federal level.
The senator’s legislation was partly influenced by the story of a father whose son died from cancer after initially being denied access to medical cannabis at a hospital in Cali. Jim Bartell, the father, eventually found a facility that allowed the treatment, and he says that his son’s quality of life improved exponentially during his final days.