Bolivar's CMH says four employees reported smelling marijuana before search

Published: Mar. 11, 2019 at 6:21 PM CDT
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Bolivar police and the city are receiving some national backlash after officers searched through a terminal cancer patient's belongings in his hospital room.

The city stands behind the officer's actions.

"We believe the city's police officers did their job the way they were supposed to do it," said Bolivar city attorney Donald Brown.

Bolivar police and the city had no clue this thing would blow up like it did. They tell KY3 News they treated this police call like they do every one...saying "you call us, we're coming... and we'll sort it out when we get there."

Bolivar officers arrived Wednesday night to Citizen's Memorial after a call from a hospital security guard who said he smelled marijuana coming from a patient's room. Four employees reported the smell.

"I'm laying here trying to save my life. I told you I don't have any-- I don't have time to party right now," said patient Nolan Sousley.

Sousley has stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He told officers he uses CBD oil instead of taking opioids, and insisted all he had was the oil. However, there was one bag Nolan did not allow police to search.

"What am I going to do?" Sousley said. "I'm lying there with an IV in my arm. I can't stand up and go fight."

CBD is legal in Missouri, medical marijuana will be come June, but it's not yet.

"It's a bad situation... we are kind of caught in the middle of the conflict between what we legally have to do and what the future law is going to be and we're still in that gray area," said Brown. "Right now there is no way anyone can lawfully have it because no one can comply with procedures that don't exist."

Medical marijuana advocates say compassion and respect would go a long way.

"We just haven't gotten there yet, and we are a few months away," said Chris Bench, who runs a local CBD Oil shop.

Those who helped get medical marijuana passed in the state say it's about human decency for those living in their last days.

"This is the person who needs to benefit from it the most, and yet here they are at the end of their life, and yet it's being yanked away from them and it's being done in the most disrespectful way. I think that's the issue," Bench said.

CMH sent us this statement:

"We are still completing our investigation. We’ve interviewed several staff members and four CMH employees smelled the odor of what was thought to be marijuana. Smoking or vaping any substances are prohibited at the hospital for many reasons one of which is it can harm other patients with respiratory illnesses.

Pursuant to protocol the nursing staff called security to investigate the odor. Unfortunately, the security guard had no knowledge of the patient’s condition. In hindsight we could have communicated better with security and attempted to handle the situation internally."