California cannabis – including cannabis hospital – bills await Governor’s approval

14th September 2021

California’s latest legislative session ended at the end of last week with a number of cannabis- and hemp-related bills being put forward for approval by the state’s Governor – including a bill that would allow medical cannabis in hospitals.

California was the first state in the USA to legalise medical cannabis way back in 1996. Since then, over 30 states have introduced similar legislation.

The state’s Governor Gavin Newsom has until the 10th of October to sign the bills into law, alongside other bills that have been put forward.

Bill SB 311 – known as SB11 or the Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or Ryan’s Law – would require certain healthcare facilities to allow terminally ill patients to use their medical cannabis in the facility.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Ben Hueso, told Cannabis Wire, “It is inconceivable to me that, in a state where medical cannabis was legalized more than 25 years ago, those in deepest suffering receiving treatment in our state’s healthcare facilities cannot access this proven, effective, and prescribed treatment.

“Instead, terminally-ill patients in California healthcare facilities are given heavy opiates that rob them of their precious last moments with family and friends. This is a simple, yet critical, move that will provide relief, compassion and dignity to terminally ill Californians.”

Other bills awaiting approval include Bill AB 45 – a consumer protection bill that would require makers of food and dietary supplements that contain industrial hemp to register with the State’s Department of Public Health. Manufacturers must show that the hemp used in their products are sourced from producers that are compliant with “an established and approved industrial hemp program”.

Bill AB 1138 would introduce a fine for those “aiding and abetting unlicensed commercial cannabis activity” of up to three times the cost of a cannabis license fee, but no more than $30,000  total.

Another bill, AB 1302, would amend a current law so that a license holder cannot “advertise or market on a billboard or similar advertising device located within a 15-mile radius of the California border on an Interstate Highway or on a State Highway which crosses the California border.”

SB 544 would require the Department of Cannabis Control to “establish one or more standardized cannabinoids test methods to be used by all testing laboratories,” by January 2023. According to Cannabis Wire, cannabis testing standardisation is also part of the Department of Cannabis Control’s most recent Strategic Plan.

Other cannabis- and hemp-related bills awaiting approval include one that would “authorise cannabis beverages to be packaged in glass containers that are clear or any colour”; another that would require the Department of Cannabis Control to create a program that provides waivers for cannabis application, licensing, and renewal fees that are required by law; and finally, one that would amend the state’s hemp laws through a number of provisions, from creating new hemp testing requirements to changing the makeup of the state’s Industrial Hemp Advisory Board.

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