Provides Healthcare Facilities Tools to Implement, Patients and Physicians Tools to Utilize

Washington, DC -- Today, Americans for Safe Access (ASA)  alerted all healthcare facilities in California that SB311 or “Ryan’s Law” will go into effect on January 1, 2022 and provided tools for facilities to  implement the law. This is part of a broader campaign to ensure smooth implementation state-wide. On September 28, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB311 into law, requiring healthcare facilities to allow the use of medical cannabis on their premises for terminally ill patients. The law applies to all healthcare facilities including: acute care hospitals, special hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, congregate living health facilities, and hospice providers. 

“California physicians need to know that medical cannabis is an effective palliative care treatment and should aid their patients in utilizing Ryan's Law to improve their quality in end of life care," said Dr. Larry Bedard, an emergency physician on the Marin Health Care Board of Directors who testified on behalf of Ryan's Law before the Senate and Assembly Health Committees. Physicians with terminally ill patients need only to provide the same recommendation that is written for qualification of The Compassionate Use Act for their patients to utilize the rights created in SB 311. 

Ryan’s law was passed in honor of Ryan Bartell who was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer at the age of 41.  As his condition progressed, he was admitted to the palliative wing of a hospital where he spent his first four and a half weeks on fentanyl to treat his pain.  Unfortunately, the  first hospital could not allow Ryan to use cannabis in their facility.  He stayed on this medication until his family could locate and move Ryan to a hospital that would allow him to use cannabis.  As a result of using medical cannabis,  he spent his last two and half weeks lucid and pain free with his family and friends.

“After months of research in all 50 States, I found no laws that regulated the use of medical cannabis in hospitals,” said Jim Bartell, Ryan’s father and champion of Ryan’s Law.  “Working with attorney Ken Sobel and Senator Ben Hueso, we drafted “Ryan’s Law”. I am working with doctors and nurses in the other 49 States to get “Ryan’s Law” passed nationwide.  It will allow millions of other families of terminally ill patients to provide their loved ones a quality of life during their final days.”

ASA’s implementation guide for healthcare facilities includes a summary of the law, sample policies and documents, and draft SOPs to aid in their compliance with the new law. These guidelines were sent to over 2,000 healthcare facilities that are subject to “Ryan’s Law”.  ASA has also created resources for physicians and their patients to help navigate the utilization of these new rights afforded under the new law that include information on patient requirements, links to sample written recommendations, and CME courses on cannabis. In addition, ASA has set up a reporting system for patients who have issues with healthcare facilities refusing to comply that consists of a designated email ([email protected]) and an online incident report.

“It is our hope that these resources will help healthcare facilities implement this important law for patients,” said Steph Sherer, founder and president of Americans for Safe Access. “In our watchdog capacity, ASA will be monitoring to assure state-wide compliance.” 

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Links to Resources:

ASA’s Ryan’s Law Campaign page

Guide for Healthcare Facilities

Guide for Physicians

Guide for Patients

List of Healthcare facilities receiving guide available upon request. 

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