Organ Transplant Anti-Discrimination Bill Becomes California Law

July 6, 2015 - California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 258 (Levine), to end discrimination against medical marijuana patients who need organ transplants. The bill was sponsored by Americans for Safe Access, and also endorsed by California NORML, which gathered signatures on a petition to Governor Brown at the Grateful Dead Santa Clara shows (see photo) and elsewhere in the state.

While most are scrambling to regulate and tax medical marijuana establishments, the human rights of medical marijuana patients are not always being addressed. Discrimination in employment, housing and parental rights is something both NORML and ASA hear about frequently. In the case of the denial of organ transplants, it is literally a life-and-death issue. Several patients have died after being thrown off organ transplant lists by hospitals in California, starting with Edward Plottner in 1997.

AB 258 was endorsed by the California Medical Association and it passed by large margins in both the assembly and the senate. Six other states forbid denying organs to medical marijuana patients solely on the basis of their participation in state-legal medical marijuana programs. California's law will take effect on January 1, 2016.

This marks the first time Governor Brown has signed a pro-marijuana bill since he authorized the decriminalization of marijuana in 1975. "We applaud California's legislators and its Governor in passing this important human-rights legislation," said Cal NORML Deputy Director Ellen Komp, shown here petitioning for the bill on July 4 in Berkeley.

Also see: NORML Blog: California Governor Signs Law Expanding Medical Marijuana Patients' Rights

Sac Bee: Jerry Brown signs protection for pot smokers seeking organ transplants