Jim Bartell discusses the creation of Ryan’s Law with John and Janna Champagne.
Jim Bartell & Janna Champagne, RN – Who Chooses Care for You and Your Family? Introducing Ryan’s Law.
Host John Malanca ( 00:00 ):
Welcome back, everybody. This is John Malanca with United Patients Group, Be Informed and Be Well. And my special guests today is Jim Bartell and an old friend, Janna Champagne who’s been with the United Patients Group team, I guess, for the past four years. Janna, so great to see you. And great to have you on, Jim, as well.
Host John Malanca ( 00:19 ):
The reason why this is important to me because when I hear anything about pancreatic cancer, of course, because of Corinne, I’ll stop and help any way I possibly can. Sadly, what brought Jim and I together is the loss of his son, Ryan, a 41 year old male, athlete, health, married, good life, just like Corinne. And he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and lost his battle seven weeks later.
Host John Malanca ( 00:50 ):
I’ve been thinking about this, Jim, since being introduced to you. I had four months with my wife and my heart goes out because I still hold back tears of losing my wife, and I’m certain you are as well. You’re here to talk about not only your son, Ryan, Ryan’s Law, but Senate Bill 305 here in California. Talking about having access to terminal patients in hospitals when they’re battling any terminal illness, cancer being one, but having access to cannabis. So, can you share your story and thanks for being on as well.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 01:30 ):
All right, thanks, John. Yeah, Ryan grew up very healthy. I mean, never sick a day in his life. Tall, lanky, very, very fit, ran every day, Allstate distance runner in high school, college scholarship for running, ran four years in college. Ran every day of his life, five miles a day to stay in shape.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 02:03 ):
In fact, his oncologist said he was the most fit patient he’d ever had. And so, after a ski trip, he went straight to the emergency room because something was wrong and he knew it. And that was February
28th, 2018. Went to the hospital. I didn’t know he was there at the time until the next morning when he called me. He said, “Dad, I have some terrible news. I’ve been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic
cancer and they’re giving me weeks or months to live.” And as a parent, that’s the last thing you want to hear from a child.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 02:40 ):
And so, the first hospital he was in had him on morphine the first night. It wasn’t working, so they added Fentanyl. Fentanyl, for those who don’t know, is 100 times more powerful than morphine. So all it did was put him to sleep immediately. And that’s the way he was for four and a half weeks.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 03:01 ):
Everyone he talked to, his family, his wife, his son, brothers, sister, friends. And I asked the college if we could replace the Fentanyl with cannabis and he thought it was actually a good idea, and he was very supportive of cannabis. So, he put the request in to the hospital and they denied it about a week later.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 03:30 ):
And then we went searching for a hospital that will allow it and found one, and they said, “Bring in the medicines. We’ll refrigerate them with his name on it. We’ll help administer the dosage.” Complete reversal of the position at the first hospital. But to do all the paperwork, and the insurance, it took about two more weeks, two or three more weeks. So, it was four and a half weeks before we got him transferred.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 03:58 ):
And James [Creo 00:04:05], the medical cannabis chemist, brought the medicines in. He had to get creative in terms of how they were being applied because Ryan couldn’t swallow anything, couldn’t even swallow water. And so, he came up with a suppository to deal with slowing down the cancer. And he had tinctures for under the tongue for the pain relief. And enormous amount, about 1,000 milligrams per dose, four times a day. Janna probably knew that. 25 to one THC to CBD ratio. I mean, he was the biggest high that James had ever created for anybody.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 04:47 ):
But the next morning he woke up, wide awake, talking, texting his friends, saying, “I’m awake.” And then it was a floodgate of friends flying in from all over the country, college friends, lifelong friends, and the nurses were literally crying.
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 05:07 ):
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 05:08 ):
Janna knows that. And so we had two and a half great weeks with Ryan talking every day, laughing, friends of his were flying in. And it’s very reminiscing.
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 05:36 ):
Yeah, I remember it was so wonderful that he was able to interact with his son and his wife again as well and have that little bit extra time with him.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 05:45 ):
Yeah. And that was important because we wouldn’t allow his son to come in to the hospital while he was asleep. We didn’t want have him see him in that condition. So those two and a half weeks that he was awake and alert we brought Connor in everyday after school to spend time with Ryan.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 06:02 ):
And so after he passed away on April 21st, just suddenly from being diagnosed, I was very angry at the first hospital. I felt they had taken away four and a half weeks of his life after we’d experienced it, those two and a half weeks with him. And so I did research nationwide and what the States were doing to regulate hospitals and went on the internet to either disallowing or allowing the use of cannabis. And there was nothing anywhere. So I spent another month writing a bill myself, found a sponsor, Senator Ben Hueso.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 06:44 ):
We introduced it in February of 2019. And I went to Sacramento and lobbied for it. I lobbied all 120 legislators, 40 senators and 80 assembly men. In September, 2019 it passed the assembly, 76-0 and the Senate 40 to zero. People who were against cannabis in general said they were supporting it and some of them actually authored or coauthored the bill. So they said we’re doing it because it wasn’t about cannabis. It was about quality of life. People were dying.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 07:27 ):
And went to the governor, he vetoed it a month later. I was shocked because the governor is a pro- cannabis governor. But he was influenced by the opposition, which is the California Hospital Association. And they were concerned that they would lose Medicare and Medicaid funding because it was still a schedule one prohibited substance. And the governor was influenced by that.
Host John Malanca ( 08:05 ):
And when you say governor, is that our governor here in California?
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 08:09 ):
Yes. Gavin Newsom.
Host John Malanca ( 08:11 ):
Gavin Newsom. And it’s a shame because he is a proponent for cannabis. I’ve been to events up here in the San Francisco Bay Area where he’s been and he’s spoken to it. So to hear that story that you are 76 to zero in support with assembly and 40 to zero in support with the Senate, that he would veto that a month later. I mean, that just must have been just crushing.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 08:34 ):
Host John Malanca ( 08:34 ):
One, because you feel like, “You’re taking my son away from me again.”
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 08:38 ):
Yeah. It was crushing. When I got his email with his veto letter attached, I just cried.
Host John Malanca ( 08:49 ):
What’s your next step with…
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 08:52 ):
Because of the veto we reintroduced it this year, February 21st of this year, it’s now a Senate Bill 1216, but it’s still called Ryan’s Law.
Host John Malanca ( 09:01 ):
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 09:03 ):
We changed our strategy. For the first time it was to get legislative support, which we still have. So now we’re focusing on the governor since that’s where the problem is. And so we opened up a Twitter and Instagram accounts, Ryan’s Law 2020.
Host John Malanca ( 09:21 ):
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 09:23 ):
We’re getting enormous support to those accounts and tens of thousands of supporters to that. And we’re encouraging people to write to the governor, tweet the governor, email him.
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 09:39 ):
Yes. Yes. Tell him cannabis is essential in California now. We need it to be essential for our patients and hospitals. It’s quite essential.
Host John Malanca ( 09:47 ):
So all you’re trying to do with one with Ryan’s Law is to help terminally ill patients in the hospital have access as another option.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 09:58 ):
Yeah. The essence of the bill is that it requires all hospitals in California, and other health care facilities like hospice centers, it requires them to allow patients, terminally ill patients, to use cannabis for treatment and, or pain relief. That’s the essence of the bill. And several…
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 10:19 ):
It’s an opt out for those that have trouble, correct, with funding?
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 10:22 ):
Yes. Yeah. So we addressed the funding issue that the hospitals were concerned about early on. They opposed the bill every step of the way. And we beat them at every vote. But early on, we identified that as an issue for them. So we amended the bill that says that if any hospital were to be cited by the federal government for allowing cannabis in their hospital against federal regulations, that they would be suspended from compliance with the bill until after that issue was resolved. So they had an out. And again, that’s why I was so amazed that the governor didn’t understand that apparently, because that was the reason he said he didn’t endorse or sign the bill.
Host John Malanca ( 11:04 ):
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 11:06 ):
What this opens up too is the need to offer science-based… Well, requires science-based cannabis education for all health care workers, which, I mean, how huge would that be?
Host John Malanca ( 11:17 ):
Yeah. We’ve done this, Corinne and I did this a few years ago with hospice, the Bay Area. And we did an event up in Napa County and there were about 225 hospice officials there and hospice nurses that came just for education and learning about this. We were in hospice with Corinne and they were open to, and they knew what we were doing. But it’s sad because again, I’m alive because of conventional medicine. I’m never going to say that cannabis is the golden pill, the golden ticket for everyone. I’ve seen it work with my father-in-law.
Host John Malanca ( 11:54 ):
It didn’t work for my wife or my to keep them here longer. So I don’t want to give anybody false hope.
But the sad thing is that they automatically turn to these pharmaceuticals. And in my opinion, it’s human euthanizing. “Oh, look at Corinne, she’s sleeping, she’s out of pain. Give her some more, give her some more, give her some more.” And just fade off.
Host John Malanca ( 12:15 ):
And I would be up with Corinne at 2:00 AM to 8:00 AM talking. Can you hear me? Of course I can hear you. She would talk. We would pray. We renewed our vows. We did all this stuff and then everyone would show up in the morning, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed. “Oh, look at her, give her some more.” I’m like, “Listen, I talked to her all night and I asked her, does she want to be on these pills?”
Host John Malanca ( 12:40 ):
Because it was, as you’ve seen. And you feel that four weeks were taken from you. Taken from Ryan and
his… My apologies earlier when I didn’t mention his son. But four weeks, and to me, it was human euthanizing. And so what’s your next step? I know you’ve changed your approach of not going towards the governor. I mean, I think like Janna was saying like, let’s continue on this route here.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 13:08 ):
We just want to inundate between now and when it gets on the desk again, probably August, they are going to shorten the legislative process this year because of COVID. When it gets on his desk this year we want to make sure that he’s been educated, that he understands that this is not a partisan issue. This is not a pro-cannabis or anti-cannabis issue. This is a quality of life issue for terminally ill patients who are going to die in hospitals or in hospice centers. And get him to understand that we’ve got provisions in the bill that protect hospitals from any federal jurisdictional issues.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 13:50 ):
I’ve spoken to the California Attorney General’s office about whether they intend to enforce anything with hospitals. And they said they’re not funded to do it. Congress actually took that funding away for any cannabis enforcement. They’re not interested as they got higher priorities than this. So, a lot of what the governor is concerned about, just isn’t practical. It’s not either from a legal perspective or from a cultural perspective.
Host John Malanca ( 14:25 ):
Yeah. I always share, as you know as well, cancer does not discriminate. You can have the healthiest… I mean, I don’t know if you’ve been on these pancreatic cancer webinars with MD Anderson, Sloan Kettering, Johns Hopkins. And they always say, number one reason, obesity. My wife and Ryan, no. Alcoholic, she didn’t drink. Smoker, no. High stress, no. Family life, no family. I’m like tell me something that was not my wife.
Host John Malanca ( 14:57 ):
And pancreatic is, we took three blood tests and three of them came back, no cancer. I said, “I know my wife. Let’s do this.” So I thank you, Jim. I know you have another call here, but I wanted to… Is there anything you want to leave our listeners with on how to find and what to do if [crosstalk 00:15:21]
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 15:21 ):
Get online, Ryan’s Law 2020. And write the governor, text the governor, tweet him, let him know that there’s wide support for this, that millions of people are going to be benefited from this.
Host John Malanca ( 15:34 ):
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 15:35 ):
We intend to take this nationwide because we’re not just talking to California.
Host John Malanca ( 15:39 ):
And that was my next thing is, what if someone’s not here in California? Our listeners [crosstalk
00:15:45] nationally, globally.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 15:46 ):
Nationwide, all 50 States. Oregon and Washington are next and we’ll head east after that. But millions of families will be benefiting from this legislation. And that’s what it’s all about. I never want another family to go through what I went through.
Host John Malanca ( 16:07 ):
And I heard you say in one of your interviews, this is something to put a stamp in I guess the history books, but in life in general about Ryan. So we don’t forget Ryan, we don’t forget Corinne, but you said this is something that Ryan would want. He would not want another family to go through what you guys went through. And I know that pain, I know that pain.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 16:37 ):
He was so happy when he was able to spend time with his family. Even though it was short, it was quality time. I mean, he had friends flying in from all over the country, college friends and lifelong friends. That was so important to him and spending time with Connor and his wife. I mean reaching some kind of closure with them, which wouldn’t have happened.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 17:01 ):
It gets back to what you said earlier about the hospitals were just fine with putting him on Fentanyl and making him pain-free, but sleeping all the time. And they were going to keep doing that until the day he died if we hadn’t intervened with the cannabis.
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 17:17 ):
And those substances are far higher risk than cannabis, which has an unsurpassed safety profile. So there’s not a lot of logic behind this. I know we asked this before, Jim. That it’s all about politics and money. It’s not in the best interest of patients.
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 17:33 ):
They want their right to autonomy. They want their right to choose the medicine that they want. They need to help us fight this as well. They need to be speaking up to medical professionals and letting them know there is science behind this plant. Just because they didn’t hear about it in medical school or in their formal training, doesn’t mean that it’s not valid.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 17:52 ):
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 17:52 ):
There are tens of thousands of valid research studies on this subject.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 17:56 ):
We have support from [inaudible 00:00:17:58], the Cannabis Nurses Network. And so I’m asking anyone involved in the healthcare industry, could be nurses and doctors, to get involved.
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 18:10 ):
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 18:11 ):
And get educated and then take that expertise and knowledge and convey it to the governor so he
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 18:19 ):
Host John Malanca ( 18:19 ):
If there are other spouses and parents that are watching this, Jim, even kids with their loved ones or their parents, can you share on how they can get ahold of you if they have any questions?
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 18:33 ):
Yes. My email is [email protected] And my cell phone number is (619) 787-0333.
Host John Malanca ( 18:46 ):
Great, Jim. I thank you for that too.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 18:49 ):
Thank you, John.
Host John Malanca ( 18:50 ):
Jim [crosstalk 00:18:51].
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 18:50 ):
When you get flooded with calls, Jim. Be ready.
Host John Malanca ( 18:54 ):
Open the floodgates on helping. And you know what? Corinne and I had a pay it forward attitude in life while we’re here. And sounds like Ryan was the same and we continue to pay it forward. And that’s what keeps me going, my faith keeps me going, but just knowing that I’m helping.
Host John Malanca ( 19:11 ):
Because people ask, “Why do you still do this if it didn’t save your wife?” And I’ve seen it work, I’ve seen it work. And I know Corinne would want to continue on. And I thank you for doing what you’re doing. And truly a pleasure of meeting you because there’s a reason why we were brought back together. And so, Jim Bartell with the Senate Bill 305, Ryan’s Law, and actually it changed Senate Bill. What was the new Senate Bill? I’m sorry.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 19:39 ):
1216, one two one six.
Host John Malanca ( 19:41 ):
One two one six. And my dear friend, Janna Champagne, and thank you for everything you do, Janna. And we’ll get Janna on the show. And we’ll talk about, Janna is not only an incredible person, an incredible nurse, but a mom of an autistic child. And so she specializes in all the gamuts of illness and the benefits of medical cannabis. But we’ll get you back on, Janna, and talk about autism, which is a big topic.
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 20:08 ):
Host John Malanca ( 20:09 ):
Guest: Janna Champagne ( 20:10 ):
Thank you for having me today. I admire both of you so much for turning your experience into purpose and helping other people. I mean I think that’s just the purest intent on earth, so thank you both. I’m so glad you came together and I hope we reach a lot of people today.
Guest: Jim Bartell ( 20:25 ):
Thank you, Janna. Thank you, Janna. Appreciate it.
Host John Malanca ( 20:27 ):
Thanks to you both. This is a John Malanco, United Patients Group. Be informed and be well. We’ll see you soon. Bye-bye.
Host John Malanca ( 20:36 ):
Hi, John Malanco here with United Patients Group. I hope you’ve enjoyed our videos. Please click like as well as subscribe to our channel here on YouTube. Also, follow us on Twitter at upatientsgroup and on Facebook UnitedPatientsGroup, as well as for our podcast. Please click the link in the description below. We’ll see you there. Bye-bye.