Nolan Sousley is a Stage 4 cancer patient, and because of the pain that comes along with his terminal diagnosis, he’s also a cannabis user.
He told Bolivar, Missouri police as much as they rifled through his belongings Wednesday night in his hospital room, according to video shared by his “Tribe of Warriors Against Cancer” Facebook page.
“If we find marijuana we will give you a citation. We’re not taking you down to the County Jail,” one officer in the hospital room says on the video, which had been shared more than 6,500 times as of Friday afternoon, and viewed more than 350,000 times. “But we haven’t found marijuana so we’re not citing.”
And they didn’t find any, Bolivar Police Chief Mark Webb said, according to the Bolivar Herald-Free Press, so Sousley was not issued a ticket.
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At one point in the Facebook live video, Sousley says he uses THC pills for pain relief instead of smoking “a ground-up plant.”
At another point, he admitted to using cannabis in the hospital parking lot.
“I take it like a pill,” Sousley said in the video.
“I’m sick of our country, the way it is right now,” Sousley said, according to the Bolivar Herald-Free Press. “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.”
Bolivar police may have either temporarily or permanently deleted the department’s Facebook account, Sousley’s son Tylor said, according to the Springfield News-Leader. It was no longer online as of Friday afternoon.
A Bolivar police receptionist who was not identified by name by the newspaper said she’d been “called every name in the book” by irate callers since the search.
One officer says in Sousley’s video that the department received a call referencing marijuana on the premises of Citizens Memorial Hospital. Someone can be heard off camera saying, “I smelled marijuana whenever I walked in the room,” but it is unclear whether it was an officer or a hospital staff member who said that.
McClatchy reached out to the Bolivar Police Department over the phone and email, but did not immediately receive a response.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this report incorrectly identified the newspaper in Bolivar, Mo. It is the Bolivar Herald-Free Press.