Sandra Bland

Why Blame Marijuana for Sandra Bland's Death?

Local officials suggest that pot contributed to her arrest and suicide.



The obvious culprits in Sandra Bland's death behind bars this month include the hotheaded Texas trooper who arrrested her and the Waller County jail employees who failed to keep an eye on her. This week local officials suggested another suspect: marijuana. In my latest Forbes column, I explain why that theory is implausible:

Sandra Bland died on July 13 in a Waller County, Texas, jail cell, apparently by her own hand. Police say the 28-year-old woman, who had just traveled from Illinois to Texas for a job at Prairie View A&M University, used a trash can liner to hang herself. But the dashcam video of the routine traffic stop that led to her arrest three days earlier indicates that Bland would not have ended up in jail if she had complied with Trooper Brian Encinia's request that she put out her cigarette. After she declined, Encinia ordered her out of her car, and the encounter quickly escalated.

Waller County officials have suggested that something else Bland smoked may have contributed to her arrest or her death. A toxicological report released on Monday says Bland's blood contained about 18 nanograms of THC, marijuana's main psychoactive ingredient, per milliliter. "It may be relevant as to her state of mind to determine what happened on the street," First Assistant District Attorney Warren Diepraam told reporters. "It may be relevant to her state of mind to determine how or why she committed suicide." Maybe, but probably not.

Read the whole thing.

NEXT: We Don't Care. We Don't Have to.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Reefer strikes maddness again

    1. ^^this

      Is there NOTHING bad that the Demon Weed? is responsible for?

  2. The only way weed could have killed her is if this hefty lass was in the cell with her

    1. Oh my.

      I like the Spanish subtitles. That helped.

  3. “Authorities seek a seven foot tall ambulatory pot plant which is believed to be responsible for killing a number of anti-police activists. If you see this creature, do not engage it, call authorities immediately, and stock up on snacks.”


    1. ‘Night of the walking green leaf,’coming soon to your children!!!! It can not be killed,guns are usless,it uses mind contol to do it’s evil work. Be afraid,be very afraid.

      1. This is the plot for Michael Bay’s Day of the Triffids remake.

  4. Because it’s easier for police to deflect and blame others’ drug use, instead of taking responsibility for their own behavior??

  5. Furthermore, it’s not clear whether even a regular user would test as high as she did after three days of abstinence, which has led to speculation that she consumed cannabis behind bars. Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith said a thorough inspection of her cell, including the plumbing, found no evidence of that.

    I’m sure the same corrections officer who would have sold it to her could also have removed evidence of it.

    1. Maybe the cook confused the pot evidence locker with the oregano jar and seasoned her food with it? Makes about as much sense as anything in this case.

    2. Cops always have the best weed,or so I’ve heard.

      1. If not, they’ll steal it from whoever does.

    3. He could have removed evidence of selling the weed too, if you know what I mean.

  6. Seems implausible.

    “There is a chemical in weed called “fuck it”, and if you can just get that in your system it can change your life.”

    1. Is there a kind that has a chemical called ‘fuck me’? I now beer has one that makes fat chicks fuckable,or so I’ve heard.

  7. “…Bland would not have ended up in jail if she had complied with Trooper Brian Encinia’s request that she put out her cigarette.”

    Which assumes that refusing to put a cigarette out is a justification for the trooper losing his temper and manhandling and arresting her.

    1. Bland would not have ended up in jail if the cop had not been an aggressive asshole.

    2. She was assaulting him with second hand somke the momster!!

      1. I actually heard a local radio personality make that argument.

        1. Is funny cause it true

          1. Your typing here suggests that you might be high.

      2. Then he needs to stop being on road patrol, because he gets more exposure from all the tailpipes of idling cars he deals with on a daily basis.

    3. I had a “friend” say that. I am questioning if I wish to continue being friends with such a person.


  9. Not sure if this has been said before but the cop acted like . . .

    . . . a pig in a waller.

  10. I don’t know about the THC but I heard she had a criminally high amount of melanin in her system.

  11. Really, this seems plausible. Every time I’ve ever smoked pot, I ended up committing suicide.

    Damn, it’s good to be a zombie.

    1. Drug addictions that induce suicide habits tend to be self-limiting.

  12. As much as I hate living in a city filled with naive progressives, I am thankful that if the cops here ever implied that “weed makes you kill yourself” people would laugh them off the stage. I guess even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  13. Marijuana or not, is there anyone (non-idiot) who buys that she committed suicide?

  14. Here’s where I’m at on this.

    She wasn’t smoking anything in the jail. There are other people who were there who would testify if she was, because you can’t really keep that a secret indoors.

    So, the THC came from edibles. Maybe they were smuggled to her by a crooked cop, and she was trying to self-medicate her depression and failed and hung herself.

    Or, one of her meals was spiked in order to provide a cover story for her murder.

    Honestly, in the absence of any other evidence, the first one seems more likely. Which is the best case scenario for the cops, and means we should be looking for the crooked cop who is smuggling drugs to prisoners. Is anybody doing that? No? Imagine my surprise.

  15. Are they saying she was too impaired to have killed herself? Casting suspicion on someone else?

    This looks like one of those “impossible” cases Jonathan Creek specialized in. She was locked in her cell, too impaired to have made a noose…how could she possibly have died? Is it possible she died somewhere else, & had a double act out the video scene? Jacob, do you have an alibi?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.