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Missouri Police Search for Marijuana in a Stage 4 Cancer Patient's Hospital Room (time.com)
67 points by kyleblarson 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 45 comments





The whole incident is shameful especially the hospital staff that called the police.

We talk about police being brave and courageous, but I wish these officers had the courage to say this is wrong and I don’t want to be part of it.


Seriously, change the laws. The "don't ask don't tell" attitude gets old after several decades.

Over my lifetime, we've created cartels because of drugs. Millions have probably died or been exposed to violence. People flee countries and now we want to build a wall to keep all the "problems" out of the US, that we're largely responsible for.

Let's not shame police. Same on you!


There is also jury nullification which some people attribute to the repeal of alcohol prohibition.

Hospital staff has every right to call the police if they believe someone is using an illegal substance (state & federally) on their property. We should just fix the laws.

No one here is talking about legal right. We're talking about moral right.

And the moral right if they're smoking it next to a fixed oxygen line? Or in a bay with patients with COPD?

Both are extremely prevalent in cancer wards.


He had THC pills so those scenarios don’t have much to do with the moral right of the hospital to confiscate the THC pills. Also it seems like he was using THC pills to avoid using opioids prescribed to him. You can likely forgive him for being skeptical of the risks associated with that.

1) THC pills don't stink the place up like weed. I very much doubt the security guy who called this in did it for the kick.

2) While I'd never criticise somebody own decision to avoid opiates (long term use gives you epic constipation), this preachy "opiates are evil thing" that's floating around (see every comments section everywhere) is bullshit that needs to stop.

Well-prescribed palliatively-applied opioids (in concert with other drugs) are great for palliative care. That doesn't change just because a few dipshit doctors hand out oxy for chronic backpain, or that drug companies have inappropriately marketed fentanyl, or that people die from opiate abuse because they try to self-dose using help on forums.

The fact here is this guy has an extremely finite amount of life left. People don't get better from stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

So again, props to anybody who can manage their pain through alternative mechanisms, but don't be part of the witch-hunt scaring people in pain off the good stuff.


Yeah, the moral thing seems to be just fix the laws. I’m open to other alternatives - please suggest.

When the laws seem unfixable, is that still the only moral responsibility you have?

You seem to be arguing that you should follow immoral laws until you have a chance to change them. That doesn't seem very moral to me.


As per the article, the law is already being changed and it will be legal. The laws seem very "fixable" in this specific situation. I am not advocating for people to follow immoral laws.

Expecting a few human beings, who all are involved in a stressful situation and have probably no philosophical inclinations, to come up with a morally sound choice on the spot seems like a tall order.

I think it's fair to expect people to think morally. It should be the default way of thinking, not something you spend energy on.

Do ethicists actually behave more ethically than others?

“Every right” might be true, but that doesn’t protect them from having made a despicable decision to do it. I agree the laws should be fixed, but there’s a level of decency absent from their decision.

Perhaps the less discretion and selective enforcement we afford police, prosecutors and judges, the more productive we will be in improving the array of laws they are tasked to enforce.

On the other hand, homegrown weed is one of those things the Supreme Court, such as it is, needs to use words like "aggregate" to square federal regulation of it with the Commerce Clause, which is poppycock.


I'm not sure we have the whole story. If it's true that there was marijuana smoking going on, then you really can't permit that in a hospital. Not only because of the many sources of pure oxygen but also potentially sensitive patients with allergies, or respiratory conditions. I can't imagine anyone would know or care if it was just thc oil pills.

Was it actually the hospital staff?

Who talks about US police being brave? Normally I hear the oppisite.

I’m pretty attuned to reports of police abuse/corruption/overreach BUT

It’s a pretty crappy job: stop a car and you could be shot/run over; you tend to see people in extremis and encounter a lot of, well, let’s say “jerks”. Naturally it doesn’t encourage a lot of people to take the job. I have a friend who became a cop a few years ago and she has definitely become very very cynical which she had not been at all before.

None of which defends this heartless search; I’m just providing a contextual response to your comment.


On the other hand in 2018 144 out of 850,000 sworn officers were killed. Roofers, farmers, and groundskeepers have higher fatality rates and cause a lot less harm in their daily work. As for encountering jerks, try nursing, and again their daily routine doesn’t involve quite as much violation of the rights of others.

The truth is that cops are far far more likely to kill someone than be killed by them.


I don't deny your conclusion (much less the facts). But it's a scary job typically around a bunch of scary people (it's not Andy Griffith). Also there's the psychological factor that (people tend to believe that) you'll fall off the roof through your own error, which you'll be smart enough to make, while when you walk up to the stopped car the person could pull out a gun unrelated to what you do beyond walking up to talk. The stress comes from belief, not statistics.

I think the oppositional model and recent (last 30 years) glorification of militarism has caused grievous damage to the functioning of civil policing. Non of which excuses police abuse -- and in fact AFAICT encourages it.


To be fair, most of the videos I see of the US Police abuse is generally caused by the fact they're afraid. Then you watch the documentaries and interviews and see a constant re-enforcement of that fear. It's like they're trained to be afraid and every day they are told to remain afraid.

The right side of the political spectrum talks about them being brave all the time.

Maybe not consenting to it would be better. I understand he probably thought it was better to just let them search and get it over with. But forcing the cops to get a warrant would have been better, imho. Of course, I am not the one in hospital fighting for my life.

On the other hand, the cops have to do their job. Till it's legalized, part of that job is to search for illegal substance. But maybe refusing a search would have made the choice easier for them as well. They decide not to pursue a warrant.

I heard that it's `treaties` that USA has with other countries that complicates legalizing medical cannabis at federal level. I am not sure about all the reasons though.


I hope it will become decriminalized/legal everywhere so people would not be able to justify this lack of decency with "they were mindlessly attempting to enforce stupid laws". Funny thing is that it was only a few months away from being legal. Sigh...

They had "reasonable doubt." He basically couldn't do anything about it or he'd be arrested.

I think you mean "probable cause"

I have no specific knowledge of this case, but I live about two hours south of where it occurred so I'm somewhat familiar with the culture of the area.

It strikes me as highly likely - especially given the fact that there was one bag that was searched by a single officer alone in the room with the patient - that there was in fact marijuana in their possession, and that the officers overlooked it.

If they're called by the hospital, they respond. Most of the police officers I know^† would be likely to judge a situation like this with compassion, not necessarily a black-and-white view of the law. Either refusing to search the room or acknowledging the existence of a controlled substance and refusing to act would put their career at risk; going through the motions of the search and "missing" it would give plausible deniability.

†: I'm no fan of cops in general, and certainly no "police apologist". I'm an Ancap, and both distrustful and resentful of police. I'm also a human being, though, and judge others based on their individual actions. I know a number of officers, some of which I consider fairly close friends. I don't agree with their choices, but am intellectually honest enough to recognize that they do in fact have a large positive impact on the world around them, and do what they do out of a sense of honor and duty to their fellow Man.


Well, he wasn't shot, assaulted, arrested or even issued a citation. You can't really ask for a better outcome.

Warning: Link is not HTTPS. Even if you manually change it, it downgrades.

Kind of shocking that a website would downgrade connections in 2019.


Agreed, and the reason is probably equally as bad... I mean, it's probably because they use cross-domain requests for advertising and/or tracking and one of those isn't HTTP so they don't want warnings/errors from some requests not being HTTPS.

[flagged]


> allow a dying man smoke some marijuana

FTA: > Sousley tells them that all he has are pills containing THC


But whose right is it to decide when someone is exempt from the law?

If people disagree with the law, they should campaign for it to be changed. (And indeed, a change is in the works in Missouri, apparently. But as of now, possession of marijuana is illegal.)

A society where people feel they can pick and choose which laws to respect and which to ignore is a worrying proposition, IMO. The law as a whole may be far from perfect, but it's better than anarchy.


> A society where people feel they can pick and choose which laws to respect and which to ignore is a worrying proposition, IMO.

I contend that not only is this exactly what we have, but that you, personally, do it as well.

Do you drive? If so, have you ever exceeded the speed limit? Turned right on a red without first coming to a complete stop? Rolled through a stop sign? Driven with a bulb burned out so that your license plate is not lit?

If you've ever consciously done any of the above, then you have picked and chosen what laws you respect. I doubt that there is anyone in the entire country that has not consciously broken some law at some point.

> The law as a whole may be far from perfect, but it's better than anarchy.

That's... debatable :)


I apparently live in the place with some of the worst drivers on the planet. I live in the suburbs and was shocked after moving here. People routinely run red lights for no reason. Turn on red where it's clearly marked not to turn on red. Literally tonight I had to swerve off the road because someone just felt like driving at me head on. It's really weird because it's a nice, fairly affluent neighborhood with no real reason to have such a concentration of terrible driving.

Marijuana is legal for personal use even here. Our police unions supported decriminalizing it because they said it was wasting their time.


The legal system is not a set of axioms. Police need to prioritize what they enforce all the time.

AlsopPart of the purpose of juries is to try to prevent miscarriage of justice.

We are humans, not robots.


Any immigrant knows -- the law is never what people say. It's always what happens and what's happening, and that's true in every nation since civilization.

So you would have been morally justified to return escaped slaves back in the day? The moral thing to do would be to just focus on getting the law changed?

Not even sure how you got from "let a dying men take some marijuana" to "return slaves" ...

Seems really straightforward to me. You implied that following the law whilst attempting to change it is always the moral thing to do. I provided a simple counterexample. I’m not equating the degree of immorality.

... Hold on. Let's just.

Smoking in a hospital?


It was in pill form.

... and he didn't even bring them in the hospital either. That said, hospitals are all about pain control and patient comfort so it should be acceptable for him to bring them in even though he didn't. Of course, the hospital can't bill his insurance for pain killers that he provides himself so they're not really about pain control and comfort, they're mostly about profit control.

I'm sure this thing would have happened in the exact same way even if the guy was in his home.



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