Video of Police Searching for Cannabis in Hospital Room of Man With Cancer Sparks Outrage
A video of police searching for cannabis in the hospital room of a man with cancer has gone viral, leading many viewers to criticize how medical cannabis is regulated in the U.S.
Police went to Nolan Sousley’s hospital room at Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar, Missouri, Wednesday night because they had gotten a call reporting a marijuana smell coming from his room. Missouri voters passed a bill legalizing medical cannabis in November 2018, but the regulations are not in place yet.
Sousley has stage 4 pancreatic cancer and, as he told the officers, had taken a capsule with THC oil in the hospital parking lot, but hadn’t smoked any marijuana and didn’t have any with him. Ultimately, officers only found CBD oil, which is already legal in Missouri.
In the video (filmed by Sousley from his hospital bed), officers search through the bags in Sousley’s hospital room while Sousley explains he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer. An officer says if they find marijuana they will issue a citation.
“Medically in Missouri it’s really legal now, they just haven’t finished the paperwork,” Sousley tells one of the officers, who responds that it’s still illegal. “But I don’t have time to wait for that. What would you do, tell me what you’d do.”
“I’m not in that situation so I’m not gonna play the what-if games,” the officer says.
“You’ve never said you’d do anything to save your life? You’d do anything to save your life,” Sousley says.
“Marijuana is saving your life?” the officer asks.
“It’s the only choice I’ve got to live, man,” Sousley says.
A doctor comes in the room and asks if the officers have probable cause or if they need a warrant to search the room, to which an officer replies they have the right to search because Sousley is on private property.
The video, which has more than 750,000 views, was shared Wednesday by Sousley’s Facebook page Nolan’s Tribe of Warriors Against Cancer.
Watch the full video here:
In her Chronically Cannabis column for The Mighty, cannabis expert Michelle Ross explained that while CBD oil (the non-psychoactive, legal form of cannabis) can help treat pain, THC, the psychoactive element of cannabis, is more powerful at relieving pain. Using the two in combination is generally more effective for people with chronic illness.
“I call CBD by itself, depending on the dosage, kind of like regular Tylenol, and CBD plus THC is like Tylenol Extra Strength,” Ross said.
Read more of Ross’ insights and advice about medical cannabis here.
Cannabis is not legal at the federal level and is still classified as a schedule 1 drug, or a drug with no accepted medical use and high potential for abuse, leaving states to create their own laws regarding cannabis use. Cannabis in any form, medical or recreational, is still fully illegal in 15 states. The remaining states are a mix of fully legalized, medically legalized and in some states simply “decriminalized.”
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, applications for medical marijuana identification cards in Missouri will begin to be accepted on July 4, 2019.