The police department in Bolivar, Missouri, is dealing with the backlash from a video posted to Facebook Live on Wednesday, showing police officers going through the belongings of a stage 4 pancreatic cancer patient, looking for pot.
The patient in the video is Nolan Sousley, who has stopped getting chemotherapy and now takes THC capsules to manage his pain (according to the Springfield News-Leader, citing Sousley’s social media).
In the video, three police officers are seen in Sousley’s hospital room, going through his bags (he stops them when they get to his “final hour stuff,” though). They tell him that if they find marijuana, they’ll give him a citation, but they’re not going to take him to jail.
A stage 4 cancer patient's hospital room is searched by police for marijuana. Nolan, the patient, told the hospital and doctors about using THC capsules in place of prescribed opioids. This is why we need to legalize cannabis now. pic.twitter.com/h1OZVtqqFx
— MassRoots (@MassRoots) March 8, 2019
The video was tweeted by @MassRoots, who followed up with two others providing more information about the video.
Missouri legalized medical marijuana in Nov 2018. Serious patients like Nolan will have to wait almost a year to legally receive the treatment they deserve now while risking a citation, being arrested, etc. The citizens voted, patients shouldn’t have to continue to suffer.
— MassRoots (@MassRoots) March 9, 2019
In a follow up video, Nolan explains that a hospital security guard entered his room and said he could smell marijuana. It’s basically impossible to smell THC capsules in a sealed bag from a hallway. Nolan didn’t comply, so the guard called local police. https://t.co/WVoy8ZzUfk
— MassRoots (@MassRoots) March 10, 2019
Speaking to the cops, Sousley brings up the legal status of medical cannabis in Missouri. Missouri voters decided overwhelmingly to create a system for medical cannabis in November, but USA Today reports that the state isn’t taking any new applications for cannabis patient ID cards until July.
Sousley says, talking about marijuana, “medically in Missouri, it’s really legal now. They just haven’t finished the paperwork.”
“Okay, then it’s still illegal,” one of the officers responds.
Sousley points out that he doesn’t have time to wait for that, and asks the officer, “What would you do?”
The officer answers that he won’t engage in “what if” games.
As the video blew up on Twitter, people generally responded with outrage.
If crime has been so thoroughly rooted out that the cops have the time to search the room of a stage 4 pancreatic cancer patient, then they need their budget cut.
— Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly) March 9, 2019
Protect and Serve. Wow. This is what this Police force has time to do. Three of them.
This is embarrassing.
— WD Hall (@wdhallco) March 9, 2019
It takes 3 police officers to search a stage 4 cancer patient in hospital when the other 2 could be out searching for the real bad guys ..
— jeff (@fedjeff) March 8, 2019
Protecting big pharma is a really big deal.
— Joshua Drago (@joshabull) March 9, 2019
Pancreatic cancer is an almost certain death sentence. My ex’s father lasted 3 months after diagnosis. Give this patient a goddam break. I hope everyone seeing this sends Nolan some brownies.
— McConnell ☎️ 202-224-2541 (@sooatwoo) March 9, 2019
It seems like the prudent police action after a complaint about “smelling marijuana” in a hospital room would be to step in the room for two seconds, take a sniff, tell the patient “thanks for your time, and we hope you feel better soon”, then leave.
— Jeremy (@threepaweddog) March 9, 2019
They make medical grade marijuana medication for hospice patients. It’s safer and has less side effects than morphine. Shame on this hospital and the police for letting this patient down. This is why people hide information and receive less than adequate care. 🤬
— Kris (@ThisIsKris10) March 8, 2019
More than one person said that the person who called the police (the guard) should be fired.
How the hell did the cops get called? Whichever healthcare worker called them violated HIPAA and should be fired.
— SJ Stodgun (@SarahJSG) March 9, 2019
Whoever allowed this to happen to a patient should be fired.
— eric (@erichamilton_) March 9, 2019
Bolivar Police Chief Mark Webb, speaking to the News-Leader, said that the backlash against the police on social media has included death threats and a barrage of questions that the department has so far not been able to address.
But for real, who narcs on a cancer patient?? What is the point? Honestly, some people just can’t wait to get to hell.