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Ryan’s Law

The Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act

By Chris Micheli, July 23, 2022 3:30 pm

California has numerous formal acts in statute. Health and Safety Code Division 2, Chapter 4.9 provides the Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or Ryan’s Law, which is contained in Sections 1649 to 1649.6. Chapter 4.9 was added in 2021 by Chapter 384.

Section 1649 names the act and provides that it is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to support the ability of a terminally ill patient to safely use medicinal cannabis within specified health care facilities in compliance with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

Section 1649.1 provides definitions for the following terms: “Compassionate use Act of 1996”; “health care facility”; “medicinal cannabis”; “patient”; and “terminally ill.” Section 1649.2 requires a health care facility to permit patient use of medical cannabis. This can include requiring the patient’s valid ID card, reasonably restrict the manner in which patients store and use medicinal cannabis, and develop written guidelines for the use of medicinal cannabis within a health care facility.

Section 1649.3 provides that health facilities permitting patient use of medicinal cannabis are required to comply with drug and medication requirements applicable to Schedule II, III, and IV drugs and be subject to enforcement actions by the State Department of Public Health. Section 1649.4 provides that this chapter does not require a health care facility to provide a patient with a recommendation to use medicinal cannabis or include medicinal cannabis in a patient’s discharge plan.

Section 1649.5 specifies that compliance with this chapter is not a condition for obtaining, retaining, or renewing a license as a health care facility. Section 1649.6 provides that, if a federal regulatory agency, the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ), or the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) takes one specified actions, a health care facility may suspend compliance with this law until the regulatory agency, the US DOJ, or CMS notifies the health care facility that it may resume permitting the use of medicinal cannabis within the facility.

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