Police in Missouri searched the hospital room of a cancer patient Thursday night, looking for the medicinal cannabis being used by the terminally ill man. The search of the hospital room by Bolivar, Missouri police officers was captured on video by the patient, Nolan Sousley, who has stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Sousley later posted the video to YouTube and shared it with a group of supporters on his Nolan’s Tribe of Warriors Against Cancer page on Facebook.
In the video, a police officer can be seen searching through bags in the room at Citizens Memorial Hospital while other officers and a hospital security guard watch. As Sousley narrates the video in real time, he mentions that the police had said he was going to be arrested.
“If we find marijuana we will give you a citation. We’re not taking you down to the county jail,” one of the officers says. “But we haven’t found marijuana so we’re not citing.”
Doctor Stands Up for Patient
At one point, Sousley’s physician comes into the room and challenges the actions of the law enforcement officers, asking them if they have probable cause for a search.
“Do you have the right to search his stuff? Or do you need a warrant for that?” she asks.
The police reply that they have been called to the hospital because someone had reported smelling marijuana in the room and a warrant is not necessary because they are on private property. Sousley replies that he doesn’t smoke marijuana, but admits that he had gone down to the parking lot of the hospital to take cannabis oil capsules. He also maintains that his doctor is aware of his cannabis use.
Sousley and his partner, Amber Kidwell, say that Kidwell gave police permission to search her bags. But Sousley did not let officers to search one of his, saying that it was his “bag of medication, and I’m not letting them look through it.”
“It has my final day things in there and nobody’s going to dig in it,” he adds. “It’s my stuff. It’s my final hour stuff.”
Sousley’s doctor then asks him to turn off the camera so they can talk and the video ends shortly thereafter.
Cancer Patient ‘Highly Medicated’ During Police Raid
Reached by local media on Friday, Sousley said that he was “highly medicated at the time it all happened.”
“I hadn’t slept for days,” he said. “As a terminal patient, you always ask, ‘Is this the time I’ll fall asleep and not wake up?’ It makes it hard to sleep.”
Sousley said that after the camera was shut off, he eventually gave police permission to search his bag.
“I let him look in my bag,” Sousley said. “I did not have marijuana in my pack.”
Bolivar Police Department Chief Mark Webb confirmed that officers had searched the hospital room.
“Officers received consent for a search of the room, and nothing was found,” Webb said.
The chief said that while voters in Missouri voted to legalize medical marijuana in last November’s election, the state’s program has not yet been implemented and cannabis is still illegal.
“It’s still a controlled substance in Missouri,” he said. “It’s not legal yet.”
He added that supervisors would review video from police body cameras of the incident but that “no one’s being fired, and we have no plans to start an internal affairs investigation.”
Citizens Memorial Hospital said in a statement that it was “unable to comment about any specific patient, their treatment or what was done or not done in any particular situation,” noting that smoking and vaping on hospital grounds was against policy.
“It is also our policy to call appropriate law enforcement any time hospital personnel see or reasonably suspect illegal drug use in patient rooms or otherwise on campus,” the statement said.
Sousley said that he is still upset by the situation.
“I’m sick of our country, the way it is right now,” he said. “I don’t support the rules they have written. I use cannabis to save my life. I have the right to try anything. How can they say I can’t? I have the right to live.”