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Video: Missouri Police Search Cancer Patient’s Bags For Marijuana In Hospital Room

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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.

Senators Are Angry That Marijuana Sentences Are Longer Than Paul Manafort’s

Photo courtesy of Facebook/Nolan’s Tribe of Warriors Against Cancer.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Los Angeles-based associate editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

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‘I Can’t Breathe’: Video Shows Grandmother With Arthritis Arrested For CBD At Disney World

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Police released body camera footage of a 69-year-old woman being arrested at a Florida amusement park for possessing CBD oil without a state medical cannabis card on Tuesday.

Hester Burkhalter, a grandmother who suffers from arthritis, was arrested after an off duty sheriff’s deputy discovered the oil in her purse at a checkpoint at Disney’s Magic Kingdom last month in a case that made headlines around the world.

The newly released video shows Burkhalter being handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car, where she began to feel claustrophobic and said, “I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m going to pass out.” One deputy said that she threw up, according to News 6.

Burkhalter, who says her doctor in Tennessee recommended CBD, later spent 12 hours in custody and was released on a $2,000 bond.

Burkhalter requested to be transported to the jail alone, as opposed to being transported along with another individual who was arrested for possession of a cannabis vaporizer, and a deputy made a call to accommodate her. She was allowed to be taken to the facility in the front seat of a separate patrol car.

“The older female said she gets claustrophobic, and feels like she’s going to pass out, and wants somebody else so she can go by herself,” the deputy said on a call.

Once she was in the front seat with air conditioning on, she said she felt better and thanked the deputy.

“I couldn’t breathe back there,” she reiterated.

When the arrest was first reported, reform advocates condemned the park and sheriff’s department for subjecting an older woman to an arrest on a family vacation for simple possession of a non-intoxicating compound that is known to treat pain and inflammation.

CBD is legal for medical purposes in Florida, but individuals must be registered to possess medical cannabis in the state. Hemp-derived CBD was federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet developed regulatory guidelines allowing for its lawful marketing as a food item or supplement.

Prosecutors dropped the charges against Burkhalter earlier this month, finding her case unsuitable for prosecution. She’s since announced plans to file a lawsuit against Disney and the sheriff’s department.

“Horrific treatment that they placed upon this church-going, law-abiding grandmother,” her lawyer said at a press conference.

In a similarly confounding recent case, a 72-year-old woman was arrested at a Texas airport after security discovered CBD oil. She was charged with a felony that carried a maximum sentence of 20 years, and she stayed in custody for two days.

“To be honest, I did not even think about the possibility of my CBD being illegal or being challenged,” Lena Bartula, who was going to visit family in Oregon, said. “It is such an integral part of my wellness that it got thrown into my bag along with Vitamin C and oregano oil.”

“Had I thought about it, I would have remembered that I could buy it in Portland,” she said.

The charges in that case were also dropped about two months after the arrest.

In other recent cannabis enforcement action called out as excessive by reform advocates, Missouri police officers searched through the belongings of a man with stage-four pancreatic cancer in March after a security guarded reported the smell of marijuana.

The officers found nothing, but video of the search sparked public outrage over the harassing behavior of the officers toward a sick man who said he does benefit from medical cannabis.

Video: Missouri Police Search Cancer Patient’s Bags For Marijuana In Hospital Room

Photo courtesy of YouTube.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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Presidential Candidate Jokes About Why Denver Decriminalized Psychedelic Mushrooms

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Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) joked on Thursday that Denver voters approved a measure to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms because they thought the state of Colorado was running low on marijuana.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate made the remark during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. The host asked Bennet if it was “true that magic mushrooms are going to be legal in Colorado.”

(The measure actually simply decriminalizes psilocybin mushrooms for adults, and only in the city of Denver.)

Bennet slapped his knee and quipped, “I think that our voters just voted to get Denver to do that, and I think they might’ve thought that we were out of marijuana all of a sudden.”

“And by the way, we’re not out of marijuana in Colorado,” he said.

“That’s what it says on the state flag now, right?” Meyers said.

“Yeah, exactly,” Bennet replied.

The senator, who previously served as the superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, has cosponsored several wide-ranging cannabis bills in Congress, including legislation to federally deschedule marijuana and penalize states that enforce cannabis laws in a discriminatory way.

But before his state voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, Bennet stood opposed.

It’s not clear how he voted on Denver’s historic psilocybin initiative.

At least Bennet is aware of the measure and was willing to joke about it, though. Several of his colleagues who have worked on cannabis issues declined to weigh in on decriminalizing psychedelics when asked by Marijuana Moment recently.

Congressional Lawmakers Have Little To Say About Decriminalizing Psychedelics Following Denver Victory

Photo courtesy of YouTube/Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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Culture

Horses Should Lay Off CBD, Equestrian Sports Regulator Says

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Hay is for horses, but CBD isn’t.

That’s according to the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF), which set the rules for most horse-related sports in the country, including dressage, jumping and endurance riding.

In a press release on Tuesday, the organization clarified that just because the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its derivatives such as CBD, that doesn’t mean that horses competing in various equestrian events are allowed to partake.

“From time to time, new products appear on the equine supplement market claiming to enhance a horse’s performance,” USEF, which does not regulate thoroughbred horse racing, wrote. “Over the last several years, cannabinoids have gained increased attention and have become nearly mainstream.”

CBD, both synthetic and natural, “are likely to effect the performance of a horse due to its reported anxiolytic effects” and the products are therefore “no different than legitimate therapeutics that effect mentation and behavior in horses.”

“It is for these reasons that USEF prohibits CBD and all related cannabinoids,” USEF explained. “Horses competing under USEF rules who test positive for natural cannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids and other cannabimimetics will be considered in violation of GR4 beginning September 1, 2019.”

It’s unclear whether USEF has already developed technology capable of testing for CBD metabolites, as standard cannabis testing instruments are generally only designed to detect for metabolites of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

However, USEF said that, in fact, “analytical methods are being implemented to detect CBD and similar cannabinoids.”

What about the human athletes involved in the horse sports? USEF referred anyone curious about that policy to the World Anti-Doping Code, which does allow the use of CBD while maintaining a ban on THC.

Professional golfers are also being warned about using CBD products. Last month, the PGA Tour published a newsletter urging caution when using CBD, as some products may contain trace amounts of THC that could turn up in a drug test.

As in equestrian sporting, golfers are also barred from using marijuana.

PGA Issues Warning To Golfers Using CBD Products

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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