California governor criticized over vetoing bill to allow medical marijuana in hospitals

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Following the signing of several cannabis-related bills earlier this month, California Governor Gavin Newsom is now facing criticism over proposed legislation that he vetoed.

Among the bills that failed to receive Newsom’s signature was Ryan’s Law, which would have allowed terminally ill patients to access marijuana on hospital grounds.

Due to weed’s illegality on the federal level, the California governor opted to “begrudgingly” veto the bill.

“It is inconceivable that the federal government continues to regard cannabis as having no medicinal value. The federal government’s ludicrous stance puts patients and those who care for them in an unconscionable position,” he wrote in his veto message but cited the conflicting legal nature of marijuana as the reason he couldn’t sign the bill.

Advocates claim bill covered hospitals fearing loss of federal funding

Now some proponents of the bill argue Newsom should have signed the bill anyway, pointing to the fact that the legislation was designed to allow hospitals to suspend cannabis on-grounds in the event a federal agency “issues a rule or otherwise provides notification to the health care facility that expressly prohibits the use of medical marijuana in health care facilities.”

State Senator Ben Hueso who authored the bill drew attention to the fact that similar laws exist in New York and Maine. “I don’t see why we can’t achieve the same in California,” Hueso said.

One of the citizens campaigning for the law, Jim Bartell, told the Los Angeles Times that the governor’s veto was unfounded.

Bartell’s son Ryan, after whom the bill was named died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 41. His father claims cannabis helped Ryan deal with the pain and other symptoms of his illness during his final weeks.

Another disgruntled supporter of the bill is Ken Sobel – a medical marijuana advocate who works as an attorney for the Cannabis Nurses Network.

Sobel slammed the governor’s decision in a letter, stating Newsom’s veto gave an advantage to big pharmaceutical companies, which are increasingly being scrutinized for their role in the nation’s opioid epidemic.

“Your veto simply rewards big pharma and the medical-industrial complex allowing them to use opioids as the sole source of pain relief for dying mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers,” Sobel wrote.

Before Newsom’s veto, the California Hospital Association said it was opposed to the bill as they fear it could lead to the loss of federal funds despite its support for medical marijuana.

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