With more than 30 states legalizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes, America is home to one of the largest medical cannabis industries in the world. Despite being criminalized for decades and classified as a Schedule I drug with no medical applications, cannabis has proven to be effective at mitigating a wide variety of medical conditions. However, the fact that federal law still outlaws medical cannabis means that patients who use the plant for medical purposes as per state law are often at risk of discrimination.
In a bid to prevent this from happening, California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law a bill that would protect medical marijuana patients against healthcare discrimination. As the first state to legalize recreational and medical cannabis in the United States, California now has what could be the largest cannabis industry in the country as well as the most medical marijuana patients. Statista estimates that the state had a total of 2 million medical cannabis patients as of July 2020.
State lawmakers have been keen on advancing policies that would protect these patients from discrimination as they seek healthcare. The government officials managed to deliver a couple of bills to the governor’s desk just as the end of the legislative session drew to a close, with Newsom signing SB 988 from Senator Ben Hueso and AB 1954 from Assemblyman Bill Quirk into law.
AB 1954 contains protections for medical cannabis patients and bars doctors from discriminating against patients in states with legal medical cannabis markets by refusing to issue them medication based on positive THC tests. Furthermore, the bill also provides protections for physicians who treat medical marijuana patients in legal states. This legislation will be crucial for the industry because it clarifies a key issue: how do physicians deal with patients when they test positive for THC?
In the past, patients have complained about being cut off from their opioid treatments for chronic pain after their doctors found out they use medical cannabis. California NORML director Dale Gieringer said in a press conference that many doctors falsely believe that they cannot prescribe medications to patients who use medical cannabis.
There is enough scientific evidence proving that cannabis is an effective and safe treatment for chronic pain, physician Larry Bedard argues, and eliminating patients who use medical cannabis to manage their chronic pain from pain management programs is irresponsible and unethical. Now that AB 1954 has been signed into law, doctors will not be allowed to discriminate against patients based on their medical marijuana use as long as they are acting in accordance with state law.
With the enactment of these laws protecting users of medical marijuana, it isn’t far-fetched to believe that the entire cannabis industry in the state, including entities such as Prime Harvest Inc., is hopeful that other regulatory issues which are still holding back the industry from reaching its full potential will also gradually be addressed.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Prime Harvest Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/PRIME
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