MO hospital responds after cancer patient’s room was searched for marijuana

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BOLIVAR, MO – A cancer patient’s Facebook live video showing Bolivar Police searching his room, has been getting attention across the state.  

Nolan Sousley was hospitalized when Bolivar Police searched his room for marijuana.

Those officers say they were responding to an accusation Sousley was smoking marijuana at Citizens Memorial Hospital.

They didn’t find drugs, but now police say they’re getting threats for doing their job.

The hospital just released details about what led to the search. 

In a statement we received, Citizen’s Memorial admits it didn’t behave perfectly, but says the use of marijuana was suspected by multiple hospital workers before action was taken. 
The statement from CMH says: 

“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. 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.”

That statement also mentions the hospital’s ban of all smoking or vaping on campus.
We spoke to the city of Bolivar’s Attorney Don Brown. We heard primarily about the unique and difficult position he says this scene has put city police in. 

Brown says while people know marijuana use is soon to be legal, many are still confused about what they can use and when using it will be allowed. 

But people online say the issue has less to do with what kind of pot use is legal, and more to do with the cancer patient in the video’s privacy being violated. 

Many online consider the search to be unlawful.  Brown disagrees, we asked what makes this search lawful. 

“When the police are called to a scene, such as the CMH hospital,” Brown says. “If they are in a position where they have reasonable suspicion to believe that the contraband or illegal substance would be on the premises, that would give them the right to conduct a reasonable search.” 

Reporter Collin Lingo asks: “And a security guard is saying ‘Hey I’m pretty sure I smell weed in that room.’, that constitutes that probable cause?” 

“That certainly is the city’s position at this point yes,” Brown says. 

In a statement, CMH says it is policy to contact law enforcement if drug abuse is suspected.

Brown added the following quote as well: 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.

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