It may be easy to take for granted the beautiful, abundant medical cannabis we have access to here in California. Compared to patients living in states where there are no MMJ laws and harsh penalties, California might seem like the golden land of canna-bliss. While Californians enjoy the safe access that state laws provide, some patients are experiencing discrimination and restricted access to vital health services based upon their use of cannabis, even as a doctor-recommended treatment.
Voters in California adopted the Compassionate Use Act (CUA), known as Proposition 215, in 1996. The initiative removed criminal penalties for cannabis-related crimes for people with a recommendation for medical cannabis use from a doctor. However, according to California Supreme Court case law, the CUA does not protect legal patients from civil liabilities or discrimination based on their medical cannabis use. California patients still face pervasive discrimination in employment, housing, parental rights, and access to health care. One of the most tragic examples of this discrimination is seen in cases where patients lawfully using medical cannabis under a doctor’s recommendation are removed from the waiting list for an organ transplant. This can cause unnecessary suffering and hardship, and in some cases, has already resulted in death.
Americans for Safe Access holds that denying a patient access to an anatomical gift based solely on his or her status as a medical cannabis patient is harmful and unfair. Law-abiding medical cannabis patients should enjoy the same standards of care and access to health care services as everyone else. Because the consequence for denying organ transplants can be severe or lethal, ASA strongly believes that California law should prevent discrimination against medical cannabis patients in determining the recipient of an anatomical gift, and we at MNR Coop agree.
We invite you to learn more and participate in ending this tragic discrimination. Please visit Americans for Safe Access and support the California Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act.