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Medical marijuana patient denied liver transplant: It’s too late for me

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A man who was refused a liver transplant by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles because he used medical marijuana to cope with his symptoms is hoping his story will change the transplant policies of hospitals around the country.

“Now I just accept it, I deal with it, and I take it one day at a time,” Norman B. Smith told Reason TV. “I realize that the chance of Cedars changing their mind is a long shot. But if I can effect a change, so be it. It is probably too late for me, but I hope it makes it easier for the next guy.”

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Smith was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer in 2009. His oncologist at Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Steven Miles, approved of his medical marijuana use as a means to deal with the effects of chemotherapy and pain from an unrelated back surgery.

In September 2010, Smith became eligible for a liver transplant, but after testing positive for marijuana in February he was removed from the transplant list due to non-compliance with the hospital’s substance abuse contract. Smith was within two months of receiving a transplant before he was de-listed.

“Marijuana is considered substance abuse,” Peggy Stewart, a clinical social worker with UCLA’s transplant program, explained. “The legality of it is really not an issue.”

The hospital said that using marijuana put transplant patients at risk of infection from aspergillus, a mold found in marijuana. But the dispensary Smith gets his marijuana from tests its product for aspergillus and other contaminants in compliance with FDA guidelines.

“It’s safer than the spinach and lettuce that you eat,” Smith said.

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Stephanie Sherer of Americans for Safe Access told Reason TV the issue was not an isolated incident. In 2008, a medical marijuana patient from Seattle died after being denied a liver transplant by the University of Washington Medical Center. Less than a year later, another medical marijuana patient from Big Island died at Hilo Hospital after being denied a liver transplant.

Watch video, courtesy of Reason TV, below:

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‘Don’t mess with me’: Pelosi’s presser ends with a bang as she blasts reporter for asking if she ‘hates’ Trump

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi strongly rebuked a reporter who asked whether she hated President Donald Trump.

The California Democrat announced Thursday morning that she had asked Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler to draft articles of impeachment, and she then announced that the committee would hear evidence in the case in a hearing Monday.

"Ukraine was the vehicle of the president's actions (but) this isn't about Ukraine," Pelosi said. "This is about Russians. Who benefited? Who benefited from that holding that military assistance?"

"All roads lead to Putin," she added. "Understand that."

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‘Our democracy is what’s at stake’: Pelosi shreds Trump in blistering endorsement of impeachment

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Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday endorsed drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump and made the case that the president's actions made him a threat to American democracy.

During her address, Pelosi explained that the stakes in impeaching Trump were the very foundations of American government.

"Our democracy is at stake," she said. "The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security, and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections."

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2020 Election

‘A president the world is laughing at’: Biden releases new ad attacking Trump — and it’s getting widely praised

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Former Vice President Joe Biden, still the Democratic frontrunner, Wednesday night released an ad that has many people talking – it's already been viewed 5.4 million times – and it's getting praise from even non-Biden supporters.

The ad uses footage from the viral video of world leaders at NATO mocking President Donald Trump – a video that upset the American president so greatly he left London early, canceling a press conference and bilateral meeting, to head back to D.C.

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