Maine Legislature Approves Organ Transplant Bill for Medical Marijuana Patients

Maine Legislature Approves Organ Transplant Bill for Medical Marijuana Patients

Flickr / Andrew Lachance / CC BY-NC 2.0

On June 12, 2017, the Maine Senate voted to approve LD 764, a bill that would prevent medical marijuana patients from being denied organ transplants.

Under the proposed measure, which was less than a page and nearly shorter than the bill summary, a medical marijuana patient’s status “may not be the sole disqualifying factor in determining the qualifying patient’s suitability for receiving an anatomical gift.”

Prompting the measure were increasing reports of medical marijuana patients being taken off of organ transplant lists or being explicitly denied organ transplants based solely on their status as medical marijuana patients, such as the case of Garry Godfrey.

Speaking at a public hearing, Godfrey, who suffers from a rare kidney disorder known as Alport syndrome, told lawmakers about how he was taken off of the transplant registry, after waiting for more than a decade, because he was a medical marijuana patient.

According to Godfrey, he was given the choice of giving up a life saving medicine or giving up on a life saving medical procedure.

“As I saw it, I only had one choice,” Godfrey said. “Marijuana made it possible for me to function daily and take care of my family. I should have never had to choose between a lifesaving organ transplant and a lifesaving medicine.”

With approval from both the House and the Senate, LD 764 will now head to Gov. Paul LePage for approval.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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