Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Hays Police have dropped the citation against Greg Bretz.

———-

HAYS, Kan. — Police cited a terminally ill Kansas man at the hospital because he allegedly used a weed vape and THC paste to ease the symptoms of the cancer that will kill him within weeks.

On Dec. 16, Hays, Kansas police raided the hospital room of 69-year-old Greg Bretz, who is suffering from terminal cancer, after a hospital worker at Hays Medical Center caught him vaping marijuana, KSNF reports.

Bretz said he has been vaping, as well as eating THC paste with bread, to relieve symptoms of his condition since being hospitalized roughly three weeks ago. 

Bretz is in the final stages of terminal, inoperable cancer and told The Wichita Eagle that he most often lies “flat on his back” in his hospital bed and can’t stand up without being assisted. Bretz told the Kansas City Star that his doctor told him to use whatever was necessary to relieve his pain, including products containing THC — the active ingredient in cannabis.

Police told Bretz that his vaping device could potentially be a fire hazard, due to the presence of oxygen in the room. In many vaping devices, puffing activates the battery-powered heating device, which vaporizes the liquid in the cartridge or reservoir for inhalation. 

Bretz was cited for drug possession and was originally set to appear in court after the new year on Jan. 2, 2023. Over a week later, police have dismissed the citation.

Medicinal cannabis is illegal Kansas, despite 68% of state residents support state-sanctioned medical marijuana access, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Idaho and Nebraska also ban the practice.