Patient In Washington State Denied A Liver Transplant For Physician-Recommended, Legal Medical Marijuana Use Is Sacrificed On The Altar Of Pot Prohibition

May 16, 2008

The medical records will show that he died due to complications associated with massive liver failure. He would have likely survived longer if he received a timely organ transplant but was denied access because he followed his physician’s recommendation, used medical cannabis during his treatments for liver disease, therefore testing positive for THC metabolites and rather than receive the gift of a potentially longer life—instead doctors at the University of Washington deferred to federal prohibition laws and mores, handing Tim a death sentence.

There are no pharmacological or physiological reasons why Tim Garon, or any medical marijuana patient, should logically be denied access to life-saving or life-enhancing organ transplants.

In my view, commonsense and humanity were completely lacking here on the part of the doctors who denied Tim and his family a chance at a continued life together.

For the better part of ten years NORML (and the ACLU’s Drug Litigation Project) have been 1) monitoring increasing numbers of medical patients denied access to organ transplants for the singular reason that they test positive for cannabis and 2) researching litigation and legislative options to compel organ banks to stop discriminating against medical patients who use cannabis, most especially in states where medical marijuana patients are supposed to be protected by state laws.

Today’s weather in Seattle calls for cloudy and dark weather. That is hardly unusual for this time of year up there, but on this day, the clouds will be particular dark…notably the ones hanging over the doctors at the University of Washington who decided earlier this week to sacrifice Timothy Garon on the altar of pot prohibition rather than treat him like an ailing brother or a sister, wife or child.

Would these doctors really deny organ transplants to a loved one that tested positive for cannabis? I think not.

Read a previous article about Tim Garon’s plight. View a moving news account of Tim and his family. Finally, go to NORML’s online advocacy system and send a prewritten letter to your member of Congress in favor of HR 5842, a bill that would end the federal government’s war on patients.

References: NORML Blog

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