Video: Police Search Cancer Patient’s Room For Marijuana

By Kelly Burch 03/13/19

The patient's partner said that the incident shows how important it is for marijuana laws to protect patients who use it to ease their suffering. 

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A Facebook Live video of police searching the room of a stage IV cancer patient for marijuana has gone viral and sparked a conversation about the rights of terminally ill patients to use cannabis. 

Nolan Sousley posted the video, which now has more than 9,000 shares. 

Police were called to the hospital after a security guard reported smelling marijuana from Sousley’s room. Sousley admitted that he took THC capsules in the parking lot, but insisted he had no marijuana in the room. 

“I had some capsules that had some THC oil in them. I took them outside, in the parking lot. I want to know why it’s a big deal,” Sousley said in the video. 

He pressed the officers, saying that medical marijuana is going to be legal soon in Missouri, which is rolling out a medical marijuana program that won’t take patients until June. 

“But then it’s still illegal,” an officer said. 

“I don’t have time to wait for that,” Sousley said. “What would you do?”

He asks the officer if he would do anything to save his life.  “Marijuana saved your life?” the officer responds skeptically. 

In the video, police searched bags in the room, but Sousley refused to let officers search one bag. 

"It has my final day things in there, and nobody’s going to dig in it,” Sousley said. “It’s my stuff, it’s my final hour stuff is in that bag. It’s my right to have my final—I’m not digging it down here in front of everybody.” 

However, after the video ended, one of the police officers went through that bag with Sousley’s permission and did not find any marijuana, according to the Springfield News Leader.

Sousley’s partner, Amber Kidwell, said that the incident shows how important it is for marijuana laws to protect patients who are using marijuana products to ease their suffering. 

"It's huge for us, because it's a medical thing," she told WRAL. "It's a medical cannabis to help him with his life. A better quality of life. Why do we not get that opportunity to give him a better quality of life?"

Kidwell said that it’s hard enough fighting cancer, without law enforcement rifling through the hospital room. However, she also said that the incident lead to a lot of support. 

"We’ve had an outpouring of people reaching out for support and love, and through this we’ve had a lot of people reach out... a lot of people have reached out who have cancer also, and hearing their stories has been really important for us. When you get an outreach and outpouring of people telling you their story also... for us, this is a terminally ill patient who should have the right to choose (their own treatment)."

Sousley said he didn’t want to argue. 

"Terminal lives matter," he said. "Love thy neighbor. Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. Give everybody a hug."

The police department did not comment, other than to say it had received threats after the video went viral. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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