- Missouri police are at the center of social media outrage over a viral video that appears to show officers searching a cancer patient’s hospital room for marijuana.
- Nolan Sousley, who suffers from stage 4 pancreatic cancer, can be heard on the video telling officers that he only uses cannabis in the form of pills that contain THC oil.
- Though the officers reportedly didn’t find any substances and issued no citations, the video garnered hundreds of thousands of views and set off debates across social media about patient privacy and medical marijuana policy.
A Missouri cancer patient and local police are at the center of social media outrage after a video that appears to show officers searching his hospital room for marijuana went viral.
While Nolan Sousley, who suffers from stage 4 pancreatic cancer, was staying at Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar, Missouri, three officers searched several of his personal bags after saying they were responding to a call about marijuana in the room, according to the video and an account from police.
In a video of the incident posted to “Nolan’s Tribe of Warriors Against Cancer” Facebook page, Sousley can be heard arguing with the officers and saying he is a cannabis user who only takes pills that contain THC oil, and protesting as they search the room.
“It has my final day things in there,” Sousley says in the video “and nobody’s going to dig in it. 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.”
The video went viral after it was posted late Wednesday, with more than 510,000 views on Facebook and 820,000 on YouTube as of Saturday morning.
A spokesperson for the Bolivar Police told INSIDER the department had no comment about the incident.
Bolivar Police Chief Mark Webb told the Springfield News-Leader that officers didn’t find any marijuana and issued no citations, but that hasn’t cooled public outrage over the incident.
“I’ve got my staff in tears,” Webb told the News-Leader. “People are calling and actually making threats against police.”
The video went viral on Twitter as well after MassRoots, a cannabis purchasing platform, posted the video alongside a call for legalizing marijuana and received more than 17,000 retweets as of Saturday morning.
Twitter users were quick to criticise the crackdown on the substance and take aim at the hospital for apparently violating Sousley’s privacy.
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
Users also took issue with the officers spending time searching a patient’s belongings while they could be conducting other business.
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
The hospital said it could no cannot comment due to federal privacy laws, but said in a statement to the News-Leader that it is standard policy to call police when employees suspect illegal drug use on hospital grounds.
Conversations among lawmakers and advocacy groups about the supposed healing benefits of marijuana are on the rise in America, as many credit marijuana with alleviating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and a whole range of other pains, despite limited research on the substance.
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