In California, more than 75,000 people have registered medical marijuana cards, but a lot of these users have been ruled ineligible for organ transplants because of their marijuana medication. The main reason being that health organizations set rules regarding the qualifications of patients for organ transplants and decided not to include medical marijuana patients on the waiting list. But a new bill that California Governor Jerry Brown has signed will likely make these long-denied patients eligible to undergo organ transplants when and if one is needed.
According to an article in CBS News San Francisco, The bill was introduced in February by Assemblyman Marc Levine and it proposed to include Section 7151.36 to the Health and Safety Code, with regard to organ transplants. The bill prohibits hospitals, physicians, surgeons, procurement organizations and other persons from determining the recipient of an organ based on the recipient’s qualification for medical cannabis. Only when the use of marijuana has a medical significance according to the patient’s physician or surgeon would the patient be disqualified for an organ transplant.
Medical marijuana has been widely prescribed as a painkiller to cancer patients undergoing treatment and those who support the bill say patients have been denied organ transplants because they are seen by some doctors as drug users. According to medical studies, as far as organ transplant is concerned, there is no major significance in the difference of survival rates between patients using medical cannabis and those who do not.
The legislation takes effect in January 2016 and will look to provide equal rights to both medical marijuana users and non-users when attempting to receive organs for transplant.