Hueso received a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) several months ago stating that there are no federal regulations in place that specifically address this issue and that the agency isn’t aware of any cases where funding has been pulled because a hospital allows patients to use medical cannabis.
“With this confirmation from CMS and the safeguards in the law, we are confident that healthcare facilities have the necessary authority to implement these provisions while ensuring the safety of other patients, guests, and employees of the healthcare facility, compliance with other state laws, and the safe operations of the healthcare facility,” the senator said.
There are some restrictions embedded in the new law. For example, patients receiving treatment for emergency care wouldn’t be covered, and smoking and vaping marijuana would be prohibited. It also stipulates that hospitals aren’t required to provide or dispense cannabis.
Newsom didn’t release a statement about the hospitals bill, which his office announcedhe signed along with more than two dozen other pieces of unrelated legislation.
The 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.
“In the invaluable last days as Ryan fought stage 4 pancreatic cancer, I first-handedly experienced the positive impact medical cannabis had on my son’s well-being, as opposed to the harsh effects of opiates,” Bartell said. “Medical cannabis is an excellent option for relieving pain and suffering in those who are terminally-ill, but most importantly it serves to provide compassion, support, and dignity to patients and their families, during their loved-ones’ final days.”