California Has Finally Stopped Denying Organ Transplants to Medical Marijuana Users

VICE NEWS | Jillian Mahoney

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. Continue reading
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