Denied A Life Saving Transplant Because Of Medical Marijuana Use

Cross posted from

Whenever I write about marijuana I always feel the need to clarify that I do not smoke pot and I never have. If it was fully legalized tomorrow, I would not run out and buy some. The only way I would is if a doctor prescribed it and even then I would not do it willingly. It doesn’t interest me and never has. I say this because people have a tendency to dismiss pro-marijuana articles as propaganda written by pot heads who want their favorite hobby legalized. I could care less. With that in mind, I also always feel the need to point out that marijuana is not addictive in a chemical sense like, say, cigarettes nor a psychological sense, like, say, gambling both of which are legal in this country. More importantly, marijuana has legitimate and well documented medicinal uses unlike the aforementioned cigarettes and gambling.

So it was very surprising to read this article about two patients at a hospital being denied transplants for “substance abuse.” Via Toke of the Town:

Patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) recently discovered that a second patient at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has been denied a transplant in the past year because of their medical marijuana use.

Trujillo and Smith were both told that they must not only test negative for marijuana for six months to re-qualify for the wait list, but also take drug abuse counseling for the same period. Both are complying with the requirements and have chosen to forego using medical marijuana, though it has a significant therapeutic benefit for them.
Smith could especially benefit as he is currently undergoing chemotherapy for his cancer, and his appetite is severely diminished. It appears Trujillo and Smith may eventually be put back on the list, but at the bottom. Trujillo recently contracted peritonitis, a bacterial infection, as a result of her dialysis.
After waiting years on the list, both Trujillo and Smith might be reinstated but at the bottom. In the meantime, Smith was told he has only 90 days to live and Trujillo has contracted an infection from her dialysis.
Ridiculous. Here are two people following the medical instructions of their doctors and being punished for it. Why? Because there are still elements in the United States that treat marijuana as if it were cocaine despite the large body of research that says otherwise. These two desperately ill, actual, real life human beings will possibly die for an irrational prejudice and a poorly informed one at that.
It’s time we abandoned our childish moralizing over other people’s behaviors. And it’s far past time we stopped ignoring the science behind medicinal marijuana.

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