Colorado hospital is reviewing guidelines after it allegedly snatched cannabis from a grieving mother

Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colorado is taking a second look at the way it is approaching cannabis after facing pressure from local media and the community. 11 News reports that the hospital is reviewing its policy if adult or medicinal cannabis is found following an incident that happened a few months ago. Currently, hospital staff will dispose of the cannabis unless a family member is present immediately to take the cannabis home.

Mother Lori Brochhagen, who lives in Chaffee County, said she had just learned her son, who was serving in the US Marines, had taken his own life when she was taken to the hospital a few months ago. She was under extreme stress and thought she was having a heart attack. Brochhagen was flown to the hospital by helicopter, but then she was surprised that all her belongings were searched by security forces.

“They took me out on a stretcher. They pulled me through the door and there were two security guards,” Brochhagen told 11 News.

Security forces reportedly focused on taking away the cannabis they found in her bag.

“I held my bag, they pulled it out of my arms. I tried to withdraw it. They took it off me and I said, ‘What are you doing?’ I didn’t know what was going on. I’ve never been treated like this in a hospital,” said Brochhagen.

Feeling more like a criminal than someone being treated in a hospital, she had about an ounce of weed in a bag out of sight.

“She (the guard) started going through things and she pulled out a bag. I had a little pipe, maybe about a gram of cannabis and a lighter, and she held them all up and said, ‘Look what we’ve got,'” Brochhagen added.

“Parkview was made aware of the patient’s concerns on January 13, 2023, 7 months after the patient was admitted to Parkview. Parkview has responded by phone, email and letter on a number of occasions to resolve the patient’s questions and concerns.

Per the Parkview Visitor Policy, page 26, Medications from Home: “The nurse must be notified if a patient brings medication from home to the hospital… Prescribed medical and recreational marijuana may not be brought into the hospital.” Arrangements should be made for a family member to bring it home. If no precautions are taken, it will be destroyed.”

Parkview is currently in the process of reviewing this policy.

Most hospitals are enacting strict cannabis policies, likely because they fear losing federal funding by being accredited by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services and complying with FDA regulations. But hospital workers and security guards aren’t exactly there to enforce the law.

State laws are slowly changing to allow non-smokable forms of medicinal cannabis in some cases.

Some states have taken steps to allow some forms of medicinal cannabis in hospitals. In California, patients with certain medical conditions are allowed to bring medicinal cannabis into hospitals, but certain forms are restricted.

California’s approved Senate Bill 311, or Ryan’s Bill, allows terminally ill patients to use medicinal cannabis in healthcare facilities. However, the proposal prohibits patients from inhaling or vaping herbal cannabis products. It also restricts the use of any form of cannabis in emergency rooms.

Members of the California Assembly and Senate approved legislation and sent a bill to the governor’s desk to allow the use of medicinal cannabis products in hospitals and other legitimate healthcare facilities.

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