Medical marijuana patients in California won a victory Monday when the Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that would prevent patients from being denied organ transplants.
The Associated Press reports:
The Democratic governor
announced Monday that he signed AB258 by Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine of San Rafael.
Supporters say some patients who use medical marijuana have been denied life-saving organ transplants because they are treated by doctors as drug abusers. Marijuana is often prescribed to cancer and other patients to help with pain and side effects of treatment.
Levine's legislation ensures that medical marijuana users have the same right to access organ transplants as other patients by prohibiting a hospital or doctor from disqualifying a person solely because of medical marijuana use.
One such patient was Norman Smith, a Los Angeles resident who succumbed to liver cancer after being denied a transplant. You can learn about his story here.
In 2012, Norman Smith of Playa del Rey, California, died after being denied a liver transplant because he had used medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. A bill to prevent similar tragedies — AB 258 — could get an Assembly floor vote any time — possibly today.
If you are a California resident, please take a moment to ask your Assembly member right now to vote yes on AB 258. Hospitals and medical professionals who do not support medical marijuana should not be able to kick people who are already down by denying them lifesaving treatment.
The bill emerged from committee earlier this month on a strong 13-3 vote. Help keep up the momentum and be sure your Assembly member hears from you!
The California Legislature is also considering several bills that would impose a regulatory system on the state’s medical marijuana program. One of the bills, AB 643, emerged from committee on another strong vote of 7-0 earlier this week. While the bill contains some positive provisions, it is flawed and is in need of improvement before it is allowed to become law. With several competing bills this year, it is likely the debate over whether and how to best regulate California’s medical marijuana program will continue.
For more information about Norman Smith's story, please watch this video from ReasonTV.