Jerry Brown signs protection for pot smokers seeking organ transplants

BY David Siders Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation prohibiting hospitals from denying organ transplants to medical marijuana users based solely on their use of the drug, Brown’s office announced Monday.

Proponents of the bill argued some patients had been denied life-saving organ transplants because medical professionals classified them as drug abusers.

Brown, a Democrat, signed Assembly Bill 258 without comment. The legislation, by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, cleared the Legislature with little controversy.

In a prepared statement, Levine said the legislation will “save lives by ensuring medical cannabis patients are not discriminated against in the organ transplant process.”

Six other states provide medical protections similar to those contained in the bill, according to a legislative analysis. Americans for Safe Access, the advocacy group that sponsored the legislation, estimated 1,150 Californians who use medical marijuana were on a transplant waiting list and at risk of being denied, according to the analysis.

The bill allows hospitals to consider medical marijuana use if a doctor determines in a specific case that it is medically significant.