1, 2018.

“Let’s face it, there are going to be licensed dispensaries in Sonoma Valley, and there’s some already in Santa Rosa,” said Bill Boerum, a member of the Sonoma Valley Health Care District board of directors. “Why shouldn’t the conventional health care providers do that?” Boerum is also the current board chair of the Northern California Health Care Authority (NCHCA), a “joint powers authority” – no pun intended – representing hospitals in Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt counties. He has scheduled a study session on medical cannabis at the May 30 meeting of the group, to educate its members and allow the five health care districts in the organization time to evaluate new state regulations, and consider contributing to the public comment period for the state regulations. Last month the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, within the Department of Consumer Affairs, released a set of proposed rules for cultivation, processing, distribution and sales as the state prepares to take over the medical cannabis sector on Jan. 1, 2018. The public has until June 13 to give input. The health care authority’s study session will include presentations on both the use of medical cannabis and the proposed regulations, a Q&A and discussion period, and opportunities to consider individual and organizational next steps, primarily providing comment to the Bureau before the June 13 deadline. The session will be focused strictly on medical cannabis and not on so-called “adult use.” Although advocates say there are legitimate uses for cannabis for treating anxiety, depression, insomnia, menstrual cramps, even epileptic seizures and a host of other ailments, real and imagined, getting engagement from the established medical industry has always been difficult. “Even though it’s legal, it is controversial, and I’m quite sure there are diverse opinions among board members and hospital leaders,” said Jane Hirsch, the current chair of the Sonoma Valley Health Care District. “We have really not had a group discussion about any SVH involvement or possibilities.” Kelly Mather, CEO of the Sonoma Valley Hospital, said that “… physicians are concerned about the marijuana lack of regulation and many others do not seem ready to go down this path at this time.” For the draft strategic plan for Sonoma Valley Hospital’s current year, Boerum proposed adding cannabis. “I had the words in there under ‘pain management,’ that we were to ‘be open to alternative therapies such as medical cannabis.’” But when the draft got to the April board meeting, he said, it was dropped.

To read more visit http://www.sonomanews.com/news/7008710-181/north-bay-hospitals-to-weigh

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