A video making the rounds, which shows Missouri police staging a raid on a stage 4 cancer patient’s hospital room searching for marijuana, has sparked an outcry across the internet, according to a report in Time. The video, which had been viewed 500,000 times on Facebook alone as of Saturday, shows several officers with the Bolivar Police Department going through the bags of patient Nolan Sousley, who is suffering from stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
As the officers search through his things, Sousley can be heard telling them that all he has are pills containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, which is often prescribed to help cancer patients with pain and other symptoms associated with the disease. The officers then inform Sousley that they are there because someone tipped them off that there was the smell of marijuana coming from Sousley’s room. He had been admitted to the hospital the night before the incident took place with night sweats and fevers, according to his partner, Amber Kidwell.
The state of Missouri passed a ballot initiative last November to join 33 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing marijuana for medical use, but that law doesn’t go into effect until June, in order to give officials time to develop rules and a regulatory structure to oversee its implementation.
Sousley recounted that on Wednesday night, a hospital security guard came to his room and asked to search his bags, claiming he could smell marijuana — Sousley refused the guard’s request. A short time later, several police officers appeared and began searching through Sousley’s bags.
“I had some capsules that had some THC oil in them. I took them outside in the parking lot,” Sousley can be heard telling the police.
At one point, a physician comes into the room and speaks to the officers.
“Do you have the right to search his stuff? Or do you need a warrant for that?” she asks.
The officers inform her that because the hospital is private property, they are within their legal rights to search Sousley’s room without a warrant. They then go on to tell Sousley that if they find marijuana, they would issue him a citation, not take him to jail. When Sousley replies that medical marijuana is going to be legal in Missouri in a few months, one of the officers replies, “It’s still illegal.”
“But I don’t have time to wait for that. Man, what would you do?” Sousley says. “Tell me what you’d do.”
The type and severity of cancer that Sousley has is the same as that of Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek, and has thus been getting a lot of attention in the media. The median life expectancy for stage 4 pancreatic cancer is three to six months, according to Medical News Today, with just a one percent five-year survival rate.