Three police officers in Missouri went to a hospital and searched through the belongings of a man with stage-four pancreatic cancer in a fruitless attempt to find marijuana on Wednesday.
Video of the search was shared live on Facebook and has more than 350,000 views as of Friday afternoon. It shows the officers rifling through the bags of Nolan Sousley in a small hospital room where he was receiving treatment for symptoms of his terminal illness.
Sousley admitted on several occasions that he does take capsules containing THC oil. Someone else in the room said it helps him manage his pain, appetite and nausea, and he uses it as an alternative to opioid painkillers. But Sousley said he doesn’t smoke flower cannabis, and so he was confused as to why the hospital security guard, who reported smelling marijuana, called the department in the first place.
“I want to know why it’s a big deal if it is really legal in Missouri now,” Sousley said, referring the voter-approved medical cannabis legalization initiative that passed during last year’s midterm election. “Medically, in Missouri, it’s really legal now. They just haven’t finished the paperwork.”
“OK, then it’s still illegal,” an officer replied. He also said that Sousley wouldn’t be taken to jail if they discovered marijuana, but that he would be cited.
“But I don’t have time to wait for that,” Sousley said. “What would you do?”
The officers continued their search for about five minutes on the video, and at one point a medical professional entered the room and inquired about the process. She pressed the officers on whether they had probable cause or if they needed a search warrant to go through the patient’s items.
The officers said they did have a right to conduct the search. But in the end, they didn’t discover any cannabis, as explained in a follow-up Facebook video.
Marijuana Moment reached out to the Bolivar Police Department, but a representative did not respond by the time of publication.
In a statement to The Springfield News-Leader, the hospital where the search was conducted said that “due to HIPAA (federal privacy law), we are unable to comment about any specific patient, their treatment or what was done or not done in any particular situation.”
“Generally speaking, it is against the Hospital’s policy to smoke or vape on the Hospital’s campus,” the hospital representative said. “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 police chief did not get back to the local newspaper, but a representative who answered the department’s phone said that she’d been “called every name in the book” by people expressing anger over the department’s treatment of Sousley. The department also reportedly deleted its Facebook page following the outrage.
A separate YouTube version of the video has nearly 90,000 views as of this writing. Reposts of the Facebook video have also racked up thousands of views.
Photo courtesy of Facebook/Nolan’s Tribe of Warriors Against Cancer.
NFL Would End Marijuana Suspensions In Deal Circulated By Players Union
National Football League players would no longer face the possibility of being suspended from games just for testing positive for marijuana under a proposed collective bargaining agreement approved by team owners and circulated to players on Thursday.
The new policy being floated for approval by the the NFL Players Association would also reduce the number of players subject to testing for cannabis and narrow the window when tests can be administered from the current four months to just two weeks at the start of training camp.
(Marijuana Moment’s editor provides some content to Forbes via a temporary exclusive publishing license arrangement.)
Image element courtesy of Marco Verch.
NFL Marijuana Penalties Will Be ‘Dramatically Reduced’ Under Deal Being Weighed By Players Union
The NFL Players Association could soon vote on an agreement with the league that includes sharply reduced penalties for marijuana use by football players and dramatically shortens the annual window during which they may be tested for cannabis and other drugs.
While the proposed changes haven’t been publicly released, the collective bargaining agreement that’s circulating among officials would reportedly make it so players would only be subject to a two-week testing period, instead of the current four-month window that now begins on the unofficial marijuana holiday April 20 (4/20) and ends in August.
Additionally, severe penalties for cannabis offenses would reportedly be lifted. The agreement “would include dramatically reduced penalties, with suspensions happening only in the event of extreme and repeated disregard of the policy or significant violations of applicable law regarding the possession and use of marijuana,” NBC Sports’s ProFootballTalk reported.
The players union has been holding conference calls in recent weeks as representatives decide whether to proceed with the agreement, but if they don’t act soon, it could mean another year of strict cannabis policies within the NFL. Two-thirds of the group must agree to the proposal prior to the start of the new league year on March 18 if they want the policies to take effect for the 2020-2021 season.
If the new collective bargaining agreement isn’t ratified by that time, players would undergo another season where testing positive for marijuana can result in fines, suspension and rehabilitation.
It’s not clear when the revised testing period would begin under the agreement, but it’d generally be more beneficial for players to schedule that window during the offseason.
While the NFL has been slow to back reform, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said in December that they see the writing on the wall and predicted that cannabis policy changes were imminent.
“I think you should expect and will expect an adjustment of the contemporary way or the present way that marijuana is being thought about,” Jones said.
Cannabis policy changes have already been integrated by the Major League Baseball, which announced in December that it was removing marijuana from its list of banned substances. That also followed negotiations between the MLB and its players union.
Meanwhile, a panel created by the NFL and the union said last month that players should be wary of CBD, with members arguing that more research is needed to determine whether the non-intoxicating marijuana compound is safe and effective.
Image element courtesy of Marco Verch.
Netflix Blocks Marijuana Shows And Films In Response To Government Demands
Film and television, for many of us, were the first places we saw cannabis users humanized.
In a society where we were raised to “Just Say No,” who can forget the positive impact when we saw the joyous, peaceful festivities depicted in Woodstock? Who didn’t laugh at rather than scorn classic pot-smoking teenage comedies like Dazed and Confused or Superbad? Who didn’t abandon their own ‘Reefer Madness’ stereotypes after getting schooled on medical cannabis by Sanjay Gupta’s Weed?
But across the Pacific, one country is working to make sure its citizens see no marijuana in moving pictures. According to a new report released by digital streaming giant Netflix, the company complied with several demands from Singapore’s government that they remove content from their service. That includes three pieces of cannabis-themed programming: Cooking on High, The Legend of 420 and Disjointed.
The other two films were Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ and Brazilian comedy The Last Hangover, which also includes overt drug-use and partying themes. Overall, the company disclosed it has received nine take-down requests worldwide since 2015. As first reported on Friday by Axios, Netflix promised that it will continue making these requests public on an annual basis. The content removed only applies to the country that requested the ban, and it can still be accessed in other markets.
Singapore is notorious for having some of the harshest drug control laws in the world. Possession of small amounts of drugs is punished severely with up to ten years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both. Trafficking, which differs by quantity based on the substance, is punishable by execution. You can be put to death for having less than a pound of marijuana, for example.
Singapore’s government doesn’t seem to be interested in global trends towards decriminalization and legalization of cannabis or other drugs. “Examples of other countries have clearly shown that a permissive attitude towards the use of cannabis exacts a high cost on society,” says the national Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). “Therefore, we have strict laws against the trafficking, possession, consumption, and import or export of illicit drugs, including cannabis and cannabis products.”
Officials have argued that harsh policies coincide with reductions in rates of drug use and substance use disorder. By the CNB’s estimates, “the number of drug abusers arrested each year has declined by two-thirds, from over 6,000 in the early 1990s to about 2,000 last year .” But as to the agency’s claim that marijuana use causes damage to society, available research on the effect of medical cannabis legalization in the U.S. suggests that it does not lead to increased youth use and has a negligible if any effect on people engaging in more risky behaviors such as consuming alcohol or tobacco.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s northern neighbor Malaysia has considered decriminalizing small amounts of all drugs in an attempt to treat substance use disorder as a public health rather than criminal issue. Farther north, Thailand has made progress by legalizing medical marijuana last year.
Read Netflix’s full Environmental Social Governance report below:
Photo courtesy of freestocks.org.