California Has Finally Stopped Denying Organ Transplants to Medical Marijuana Users

California Has Finally Stopped Denying Organ Transplants to Medical Marijuana Users

In Regulatory, Research Updates and News, Top Stories by Chris DollardLeave a Comment

Nearly 19 years after her liver transplant, Yamileth Bolanos is no longer afraid of taking the medical marijuana that helps her get through the day. Bolanos said her transplant doctors originally told her that if she used marijuana, she would be ineligible for an organ transplant if her liver failed again. “I could be at the end of my warranty and what if they reject [me?]” she told VICE News. This week, after California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act into state law, Bolanos was able to breathe a little easier. The law bars medical officials from denying a patient a spot on a transplant list “solely upon a positive test for the use of medical marijuana,” unless the drug use is clinically significant. Bolanos’ use of marijuana to cope with a major illness is becoming more common as 23 states have now legalized some form of medicinal marijuana. However, the drug can create problems at transplant centers since it is still illegal on the federal level, forcing medical staff and surgeons to consider if it should be considered an “illicit drug” that would make a patient ineligible for a transplant. Related: Medical Marijuana Patients Are Getting Fired — And There’s Not Much They Can Do About It California is just the seventh state to pass a law protecting marijuana users from being removed from organ transplant lists, according to Americans for Safe Access, a pro-medical marijuana group. As more states legalize medical marijuana, there are no guidelines or resolutions from the American Medical Association or the American Society of Transplant Surgeons regarding the issue as it relates to organ donation. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which administers the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, declined to speak directly on the issue but pointed […]

Leave a Comment