I was shocked the other day. On my local news a medical cannabis patient in the state of Maine was being denied a kidney because he was a cannabis patient. Then shortly after that I saw on Facebook an Attn: Video about Garry Godfrey the same cannabis patient. I shared his story on social media immediately; I did not even realize this was a potential issue for the cannabis patient in the state of Maine.
Gary had been on Maine’s transplant list for a kidney since 2003 and in 2010 the hospital changed it’s policy on cannabis. Maine legalized medical cannabis in 1999 and 11 years later, they suddenly change their policy?
Garry was faced with an impossible choice. Stop using medical cannabis. Then wait a year before being let on the bottom list again and wait. OR Continue to use medical cannabis and be taken off the list and fight to change the law. He chose the latter. Why? Pharmaceuticals had not been able to treat his condition adequately. Cannabis let him be a father to his children; when pharmaceuticals had not been up to the job. What would you choose? In his own words, “I should have never had to choose between a life saving organ transplant and a life saving medicine.”
WMTW (My local news station) Had attempted to get a comment out of Maine Medical Center but the spokesmen for the hospital would not commit on this case. According to Maine Medical Centers their drug policy, “Our Drug Use policy currently prohibits transplant candidates from using marijuana, due to the risk of an invasive fungal infection known as Aspergillosis.” But what is the real risk of Aspergilloisis in cannabis? Maine being a legal medical and adult use state has cannabis testing labs. Why not have patient test their cannabis? What about extractions of cannabis oil (RSO) and Dabs? That process should kill any molds and as stated before the Maine cannabis labs can test for molds. I was curious to how common this mold would be found on cannabis and emailed one of the labs and waiting to hear back still.
I had also become curious to what else Aspergillosis might be found in. According to Steep Hill Media report on mycotoxins, “routine laboratory testing for Aspergillus and Ochratoxin is done on coffee beans, red wine, cereals and dried fruits because of these concerns, [and] Another commonly-appearing Aspergillus strain is a mycotoxin called Aflatoxin, which is among the most carcinogenic chemicals known. Aflatoxin has been found in the breast milk of mammals eating contaminated feed, peanut butter, cooking oils such as olive oil, and in patients using contaminated cosmetics. Liquid chromatography (LC) testing has shown at least faint traces of Aflatoxin in at least 50% of food samples tested.”
I reached out and asked Garry if these things that are tested for aspergillosis and could pose a simular risk of exposers to aspergillosis are on the restricted list or might disqualify a potential organ recipient. None of them were. Cannabis saw being singled out as a perceived Gary had been on Maine’s transplant list for a kidney since 2003 and in 2010 the hospital changed it’s policy on cannabis. Maine legalized medical cannabis in 1999 and 11 years latter, they suddenly change their policy?
Garry was faced with an impossible choice. Stop using medical cannabis. Then wait a year to get on the bottom list again and wait an unknown amount of time hoping for a kidney. OR Continue to use medical cannabis and be taken off the list and fight to change the law. He choose the latter. Why? Pharmaceuticals had not been able to treat his condition adequately. Cannabis let him be a father to his children; when pharmaceuticals had not been up to the job. What would you choose? I know what I would do. Yet, lab test could clear cannabis medication of any potential risk before using cannabis medicine if pending an organ transplant. Not only that, but 12 other states current already protect medical cannabis patients from being unduly discriminated against as organ transplant recipients based solely on cannabis use.
Garry just testified in Augusta Maine’s capitol on a LD 764 a bill that would give Maine patients those same protections if passed. The workshop vote will be on Thursday April 6, 2017.
However, while it is going to be good news for any new organ transplant patient to not have to go through what Garry had gone through at least in the state of Maine. For Garry he will need to go back on the bottom of the list that he had already been on for 7 years. His spot on that list is now forever lost. Gary has page on Facebook for those looking to learn more about him or inquire on how to help.
If you are in a medical cannabis state and you don’t know if you can be discriminated against to recite an organ transplant. Find out and contact you Representatives if you don’t want discriminatory practices in your area. No one should be denied an organ because of cannabis!
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