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Dying Brain Cancer Patient Angel Raich Kicked Out of UCSF Medical Center Over Medical Marijuana

A dying brain cancer patient has been kicked out of a San Francisco hospital for trying to use medical marijuana in the facility.

NBC Bay Area reports that Angel Raich, a 46-year-old with an inoperable brain tumor, checked into the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center on Monday for doctor-ordered brain tests. She says that when she attempted to medicate with doctor-prescribed cannabis, she was approached by hospital staff and threatened.

(Photo: Angel Raich website)

“The pharmacist says ‘you’re not allowed to have cannabis in this hospital,'” Raich told NBC Bay Area. “‘And if you’re gonna try to have cannabis in this hospital we’re going to call the Feds.'”

“‘You’re basically saying if I stay it’s like giving me a death sentence ’cause I’d have to be without my cannabis,'” Raich said she told a hospital staff member. The dying woman uses medical marijuana to help with the chronic pain and seizures she suffers as a result of her terminal illness. In fact, she appeared to have a seizure during her NBC interview.

“I’m in a state university hospital in the state of California,” Raich said she told hospital staff members. “I have the right to have the same medical care as any other patient does.”

She says she was then asked to leave the facility.

UCSF Medical Center said this in a statement:

“UCSF is a smoke-free campus and this includes medical marijuana. Several members of the media have asked if UCSF allows the use of a vaporized form of marijuana. It does not. Even a vaporized form of medical marijuana releases particles in the air that are damaging to the lung. Any particles from vapor and odor could have an impact on other patients and hospital employees.

Under federal and state law, a physician is at legal risk related to any activity that could be construed as prescribing medical marijuana to a patient.”

Raich gained national prominence in 2004 when her medical marijuana case, Gonzales v. Raich, went all the way to the Supreme Court. Raich lost; the Court ruled that Congress had the right to criminalize the production and use of home-grown marijuana even if it was legal at the state level. Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996 under  Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act. 

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