On Monday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law authored by Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) that prevents state hospitals from denying organ donations to medical marijuana users strictly because of their marijuana use.
According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), some California hospitals had removed patients on the organ transplant waiting list because of their use of medical marijuana. A 2008 study in the American Journal of Transplantation reportedly found that medical marijuana patients who received liver transplants were not subject to an increased risk of mortality.
“AB 258’s passage is the result of ASA’s membership tireless work for over 2 years,” ASA California Director Don Duncan said in a statement. “In California, legal medical cannabis patients will never again face a choice between their doctor-recommended medicine and a life-saving organ transplant. Governor Brown deserves credit for protecting medical cannabis patients from this harmful discriminatory practice that has no bias in medical research.”
According to the language of the bill, AB 258 prohibits:
“a hospital, physician and surgeon, procurement organization, or other person from determining the ultimate recipient of an anatomical gift based solely upon a potential recipient’s status as a qualified patient, as specified, or based solely upon a positive test for the use of medical marijuana by a potential recipient who is a qualified patient, except to the extent that the qualified patient’s use of medical marijuana has been found by a physician and surgeon, following a case-by-case evaluation of the potential recipient, to be medically significant to the provision of the anatomical gift.”
The law is set to take effect on January 1, 2016.