BY RUTH HILL R.N.

The Cannabis Nurse Network (CNN), held its annual gathering in San Diego last week. CNN provides continued education courses and empowers nurses with ongoing professional development opportunities. Education programs include endocannabinoid system science and care, cannabinoid therapeutics, lifespan and diagnosis considerations, and holistic nursing approaches. Nurses, social workers lawyers and physicians came together to network while learning the latest scientific updates and evolving protocols for treating patients. What peaks my interest is the various laws protecting a person’s right to cannabis.

Until the federal government changes the Schedule I status of marijuana/cannabis, which lumps cannabis into the same Schedule as LSD, heroin, PCP, patients currently have to go without when entering a medical institution.  Replacing pharmaceuticals with cannabis is a rewarding uplifting sometimes arduous journey. Users experience less side effects along with effective symptom management. Practitioners help clients replace opioids, benzodiazepines, and/or antiepileptic drugs with cannabis. Is it not cruel and unusual treatment to forcefully remove the cannabis? How is it safe logical or following an oath to do no harm? 

Two laws passed in 2018 by the Colorado lawmakers which removed the barrier for children requiring cannabis. The first, Jack’s Law, allows a parent or caregiver to come to the school and administer a dose of medical marijuana to their student. The Quintin Amendment to Jack’s Law went a step further allowing school nurses and designated personnel to give Quintin and others like him their cannabis-based medications.

Currently Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, Washington, Delaware, Florida and Illinois allow students to take medical cannabis on campus provided they, their parents, guardian or caregiver, and schools abide by various restrictions in addition to following their state’s laws for medical marijuana use by minors.

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In September of 2018 our spineless Governor Brown vetoed SB 1127 which mimic the Colorado law. It would have enabled California’s K-12 school districts and county boards of education to choose whether to allow a student’s parent or guardian to administer medical cannabis to the child on campus under strict conditions. Hopefully this will be reintroduced, and Governor Newsom will sign it this year.

California Bill SB 305 was introduced on February 15th, 2019 by Senator Hueso. I quote SB 305 as follows: The Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or Ryan’s Law, would require a healthcare facility to allow a patient who is receiving palliative care to use medical cannabis within the healthcare facility, subject to certain restrictions. (regardless of the State law, this is currently prohibitive due to the Federal prohibition among facilities that take federal monies for reimbursement). The bill would require a patient to provide the facility with a copy of their medical marijuana card or written documentation that the use of medical cannabis is recommended by a physician. The bill would authorize a healthcare facility to reasonably restrict the manner in which a patient stores and uses medical cannabis to ensure the safety of other patients, guests, and employees of the healthcare facility, compliance with other state laws, and the safe operations of the healthcare facility. The bill would prohibit the department that licenses the healthcare facility from enforcing these provisions, and compliance with the bill would not be a condition for obtaining, retaining, or renewing a license as a healthcare facility.

Ashley Manta gave a very moving lecture at CNNC demonstrating the medicinal benefits of cannabis for PTSD. We associate PTSD with veterans but anyone experiencing an emotional trauma such as rape violence debilitating car accident or mass gun shootings can develop PTSD. It is often undiagnosed in females. VA clinic physicians warn veterans in Coachella Valley to avoid cannabis or the physician will refuse to renew their medications for pain anxiety or PTSD, a very uninformed and incompetent practice indeed.

The enormous evidence of the plant’s efficacy translates into a constitutional right to use for medicinal purposes which Ken Sobel Esq. successfully translates into favorable judicial decisions for marijuana/cannabis users. Visit the CNNC website for more information. And please call your California legislator to support SB 305. https://www.cannabisnursesnetwork.com/cnnc2019/

If you need a cannabis consult because your current medications are no longer effective go to https://www.holisticcaring.com/ and schedule an appointment.

Ruth A Hill RN hilruth@gmail.com

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