Terminally-Ill Woman Jailed Because Her Medicine Contains Marijuana

A female cancer patient has been charged with DUI and is in jail after she was found with active marijuana in her system.

Angela Kastner, a grandmother in Kansas, has been fighting colorectal cancer since the past five years. Now she has been arrested and put into the Sedgwick County Jail, because an active ingredient of marijuana, THC was found in her system while she was driving.

Kastner, who has been charged with Driving Under Influence (DUI), claims that she must take medication during her chemotherapy, and the particular medicine her pharmacist has prescribed contains tetrahydrocannabinol  (THC). She has pleaded not guilty to the DUI charge.

"I had ... Marinol in my system that the doctors in Oklahoma gave me to fight cancer. I've been fighting cancer 5 years," the woman told KAKE news. 

It is important to note that Marinol is approved as medication for cancer patients by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is absolutely legal. The drug helps with treating nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

Her pharmacist has claimed that the amount of THC present in her blood is minimal and cannot make anyone high. However, now Kastner who is imprisoned will be forced to miss her chemo session, and will require her to go through the treatment right from scratch.

"I miss my chemo tomorrow and I miss my doctors appointment tomorrow," said Kastner.

"We routinely, on a daily basis, take inmates to dialysis and other medical procedures and appointments. We take the care of our inmates very seriously,” said Colonel Brenda Dietzman of the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office.

Given the colonel’s claim, it is unknown why Kastner has chosen not to attend her chemo session. Her doctor has said if the chemotherapy fails the grandmother will have to be put under hospice care.

"I feel sorry for the next cancer patient who has to go through anything I have had to go through. They shouldn't have to do this at the end of their life,” said Kastner of the ordeal.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2015, more than 11 million young adults aged 18 to 25 used marijuana in the past year. However, Kastner’s case is different since she had not consumed the substance on its own but instead its ingredients were part of the medication needed for her well-being. It is therefore bizarre that despite knowing the above facts, officers thought she must be put into jail.

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: REUTERS/Joshua Lott

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