A Portland lawmaker, Rep. Rob Nosse, has introduced House Bill 2687 geared at ensuring that medical cannabis users aren’t removed from the waiting list for organ transplants in the State.
This Bill will prevent medical practitioners from recommending that medical cannabis users be removed from the waiting list for organ transplants managed by different organizations in the State, such as United Network for Organ Sharing.
Approximately 850 people in Oregon are waiting to get a suitable match for an organ transplant, yet just 340 transplant surgeries were performed in the state last year.
Many of those people on the waiting list resort to medical marijuana in order to alleviate their severe symptoms.
In response to the bill introduced by Nosse, many of the transplant centers in Oregon denied that they turn away anyone who tests positive for marijuana.
Piseth Pich, one of Legacy Health’s community relations officials in Portland, revealed that their center assesses patients based on a number of requirements, including drugs tests, as a way to understand that patient’s overall health condition before that person is declared suitable for a transplant.
Pich added that it is hard to put a number on how many people who have been found unsuitable just by looking at only factor since suitability is determined on the basis of multiple factors.
It is common for someone to wait for years before ever finding a suitable organ, and even after the transplant process many people’s bodies reject the donated organ as foreign.
Representatives of the different transplant centers have expressed reservations about Nosse’s bill. For example, they say that the bill wants to make it legal for the transplant centers to disregard a factor that can have a bearing on the likely success of a transplant procedure.
While appearing before the House Committee on Health Care, Nosse presented a woman, Robin Socherman, whose situation can be regarded as a case study of what medical marijuana users go through when they need an organ transplant.
Robin Socherman is interested in donating a kidney to her husband, but he was removed from the waiting list after he tested positive for marijuana. Her husband, Jake Socherman, started using medical marijuana about six years ago to combat back pain. This pain has since been linked to his enlarged kidneys.
The transplant center advised Jake to stop using medical cannabis in order to be eligible for an organ transplant. However, he resumed using marijuana after his symptoms got worse, and the transplant center promptly removed him from the waiting list.
Nosse told the committee that cases like that of Socherman prompted him to introduce the bill so that medical cannabis users aren’t victimized when they need an organ. MustGrow Biologics Corp., Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) and the entire marijuana industry agree that people like Jake Socherman need to be given all the legal protections that they can get so that their health doesn’t suffer just because they are consuming a legal product.
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