A dying US cancer patient used cannabis to ease pain. His hospital called the police

‘You’d think they would have shown compassion’: patient’s son decries Kansas police who issued citation as father suffered

The Guardian – Lois Beckett – Dec 28 2022

Hospital staff in Kansas called the police on a man dying of cancer who was using cannabis products to cope with his symptoms, in an incident that has since sparked outrage and renewed calls to rethink the state’s strict cannabis laws.

The encounter took place in mid-December, when police in the city of Hays say two officers showed up at the cancer patient’s hospital room to issue him a citation for a drug violation. Police also took away a vaping device and cannabis product that hospital staff had already confiscated.

While the police department later dropped the citation, which would have required the cancer patient to appear in court, reports of the incident fueled debate over the continued criminalization of cannabis in Kansas, one of the three US states that has not legalized the product in any context.

While he was glad the charge against his father was dropped, Lee Bretz, the patient’s son, said the incident was “humiliating” for his father and left him “pretty upset”.

His father, who has terminal, inoperable cancer, was issued a “must appear” citation for drug possession, Bretz said. “He can’t make it to court. He’s bedridden. He can’t move his legs.”

“You’d think they would have shown a lot of compassion and not done anything,” his son said of the officers who responded to the incident.

A spokesperson for the Hays medical center in Hays, Kansas, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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