By Zara Zhi

Earlier this month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the first of a sequence of imminent bills related to medical cannabis, reports East Bay Express. Assembly Bill 258 will be in effect on Jan. 1, 2016 and will inhibit California hospitals from rejecting organ transplants to medical cannabis patients.

Brown signed the measure without much ritual except for a terse proclamation from his press office. Mark Levine, D-San Rafael—the legislature who wrote the bill—stated that it was a matter of fairness. “Arcane public health policies treat medical cannabis patients as drug abusers,” said Levine in a press release. “Many of these patients have died after being denied an organ transplant. AB 258 will save lives by ensuring medical cannabis patients are not discriminated against in the organ transplant process.”

A medical cannabis advocacy group called Americans for Safe Access (ASA), asserts that hundreds of patients have been deprived of life-saving organ transplants because they legally treated their symptoms with cannabis.

There are only six other states that offer the same legal protections to patients who use medical cannabis for various serious illnesses, including cancer, AIDS, and glaucoma. Doctors often endorse medical cannabis to neutralize harsh side effects from some pharmaceutical drugs.

Approximately 23,000 Californians are on the waiting list for organ transplants, according to the United Network of Organ Sharing. The ASA, which backed the bill, estimates that the new law will protect 1,150 Californians on the list who would otherwise be denied an organ transplant due to their medical cannabis use.

Additionally, there are a slew of other bills awaiting assembly that would affect the cannabis industry including AB 266, which would normalize the medical cannabis license process which is currently controlled by guidelines and dictums that change depending on county lines. It would also require statewide protocols to safeguard the quality of medical cannabis and edibles.