Saturday, December 17, 2011

Did You Hear the One About the Medical Marijuana Patient...

I write a column for Skunk magazine out of Montreal. It's a pot magazine and I get to write a column about the politics/insanity of the drug war. It's called Drug War Follies. I love writing that column. I hate passing on the news that I do, but love the freedom of a column.
This is the opening piece--there are generally three or four--for an upcoming column. This is the world we live in, for real.

You know, one of these days I’d like to be writing a column about how my local pot store just bonus’d me out with a quarter-pound of good outdoor, organic California Orange, or how cool it is to attend a rave in one of the hundreds of empty prisons around the country—empty because no one is being arrested for non-violent drug crimes anymore because drugs had been legalized. Yes, one of these days I’d like to start out a column talking about loading up a pipe and having a moment of bliss celebrating the end to the madness.
But it’s not time for that yet, you little maggots! It’s not nearly time for that because the insanity continues and the horror keeps happening. Yes, your brothers, your sisters, people who might have been your friends had you met them in this life are getting fucked this very minute by a rigged system. They’re losing their freedom, they’re losing their homes to forfeiture, they’re losing their medicine to a federal government that can’t relinquish its control over marijuana to the states. Right this second there are probably hundreds of people around the US and Canada who are frightened to death because they’ve just been busted or because they see a narc squad coming to their door. So keep your daydreams in your head and get out there and do something, anything to help bring awareness to the point where those freaking daydreams can become our reality. Occupy the Madness! End this fucking war on drugs!
You’re probably wondering why I’m lashing out today. Well, I’ll tell you. Couple of things are stuck in my craw. Name one? Okay, how about the medical marijuana patient in California being turned down for a kidney transplant because he failed a pre-transplant drug test?
Did you get that? Those who are not choking on whatever you’re eating this minute should go back and read that again. Or I’ll just write it again: Did you hear about the medical marijuana patient in California who was turned down for a kidney transplant because he failed a pre-transplant drug test for medical marijuana?
No, that’s not a joke. And I wish I’d heard about it sooner because it’s a story that happened months ago, but it’s still worth puking over. It seems that 63-year-old Norman B. Smith was “diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer” in 2009, according to a November, 17 press release from Americans for Safe Access, and was put on the eligible list for a liver transplant at Cedars-Saini Medical Center in Los Angeles. Smith’s oncologist at Cedars-Saini personally approved his cannabis use to help deal with the awful side effects of chemotherapy.
Last February, Smith was screened for drug use and cannabis was detected, leading the medical center to take him off their transplant list two months before he was to receive his transplant.
To get back on the list, if he’s permitted at all, Smith will have to test negative for cannabis for at least six months. And then he’ll wait for a liver transplant. Whether he can live through that extra time is unknown.
So you get that, right? Guy has inoperable liver cancer. His cancer doc, who works at Cedars-Saini puts him on medical marijuana at the same time he gets him on the list for a liver transplant. Then the guy is screened for drugs, tests positive for his medical marijuana and is kicked off the transplant list. What the….!!!!!
“Denying necessary transplants to medical marijuana patients is the worst kind of discrimination” said ASA chief counsel Joe Elford, who noted that the medical center would not be breaking any laws, federal or otherwise, if it allowed Smith to get the transplant.
Keeping things dismal, the ASA press release noted that there were at least two other cases, one in Washington State in 2008 and another in Hawaii in 2009 where medical marijuana recipients were denied liver transplants and died.
I am not making this shit up. This is the world we live in and if we don’t change it, no one will.

1 comment:

Helldoco said...

Absolutely ridiculous. We should be fighting the system tooth and nail on our drug policies..