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Newsom government signs bill banning medical discrimination against patients who use cannabis

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California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill on September 2 to protect the right of patients to medical treatment if they use cannabis and the right of doctors and clinics to treat them.

Assembly Bill 1954, introduced by California Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D. Hayward), passed the legislature with bipartisan support.

The bill was sponsored by California NORML, the state branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1972 that advocates for the rights of cannabis consumers in the state, and is co-sponsored by Americans for Safe Access.

“Many physicians have the wrong impression that they cannot prescribe medication to patients who have tested positive for cannabis,” said Dale Geringer, director of California NORML.

The new law makes it clear that doctors cannot be penalized for treating patients who use cannabis or who test positive, despite its illegal status under federal law.

The bill also prohibits the automatic removal of patients who use cannabis from pain management programs by specifying that a positive drug test for cannabis should not be the only basis for refusing medical treatment.

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