Could smoking medical marijuana take you off an organ transplant list? Yes.
Over the past few years, people who used medical marijuana and signed themselves up to be organ donors have found themselves removed from the lists. Even worse, people who were waiting on organs ALSO found themselves removed from the transplant list, due to the “added health risk” of medical marijuana. CNN has a larger article about it, and we wanted to discuss it here.
This has led to a bill in Maine that, if approved, would not allow hospitals to remove people from an organ transplant list solely based on medical marijuana use.
Obviously, we think this is a great initiative. Can you think of any other medical prescription which, if taken, disqualifies you from receiving an organ from an organ donor? The fact that medical marijuana was singled out for this is insane, and the fact that people weren’t told that this would happen to them is almost worse.
Several other bills are going out in other states, such as Delaware, each aiming to combat this unfair categorization. They are raising issues around who gets to determine whether or not people are allowed transplants, and particularly, why different states have their own criteria for this. In several instances, if these patients opted to get surgery in a different state, they wouldn’t have been taken off the transplant list.
We don’t have a solution to this problem (except for the obvious of supporting these bills) but we just wanted to bring to your attention some of the insidious ways people who use medical marijuana are still discriminated against.