Kansas Jails Cancer-Stricken Grandmother for Driving After Taking Anti-Nausea Drug

Angela Castner tested positive for THC because she used doctor-prescribed Marinol to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy.



A Kansas cancer patient is serving a two-day jail sentence for driving under the influence of a drug. The drug in question is a synthetic version of THC that she consumed in the form of Marinol, an FDA-approved treatment for the nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy.

KAKE, the ABC station in Wichita, reports that Angela Kastner, a grandmother who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer five years ago, pleaded no contest to the DUI charge, even though, according to her pharmacist, there was not enough THC in her blood to impair her ability to drive. Under Kansas law, it is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail, to operate a motor vehicle while "under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving a vehicle." A conviction requires proof that the drug "rendered defendant incapable of safely driving a vehicle" or that the defendant "was a habitual user of a narcotic, hypnotic, somnifacient or stimulating drug."

Kastner could be described as a "habitual user" of THC, but only because her doctor prescribed it to help her tolerate the side effects of chemotherapy. According to a summary of the Kansas DUI law from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, habitual users of a drug with any amount of it in their systems are automatically deemed to be impaired, although there is no logical or scientific basis for that "zero tolerance" rule.

"I had…Marinol in my system that the doctors in Oklahoma gave me to fight cancer," Kastner told KAKE. She worried that she would "miss my chemo tomorrow," although a spokesman for the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office said "we take the care of our inmates very seriously," suggesting that arrangements could be made for Kastner's treatment.

Kastner said she went public with her story as a warning to other cancer patients who take Marinol. "I feel sorry for the next cancer patient who has to go through anything I have had to go through," she said. "They shouldn't have to do this at the end of their life."

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  1. Kastner said she went public with her story as a warning to other cancer patients who take Marinol. “I feel sorry for the next cancer patient who has to go through anything I have had to go through,” she said. “They shouldn’t have to do this at the end of their life.”

    As long as there is money to be mined from DUI prosecution, it’s not going to stop no matter how sick.

    1. Common sense would tell the State to give her all the medical pot she wants, just to prolong her life, if she’s paying taxes. But if she’s sucking up taxes in the form of SS, disability, welfare, unemployment, or especially medical care, then they are proceeding correctly to minimize losses.

  2. I don’t care if some ILLEGAL substances can help ease a person’s post-chemo nausea, those substances are ILLEGAL for a reason. She is lucky she didn’t kill someone. I hope she learns her lesson so that her children and grandchildren learn from her mistake, but since this DRUG ADDICT is living this dangerously at her old age, I bet she was a terrible role model for her family, too.

    1. Crusty, you better be careful, or some sort of reverse Poe’s law is going to kick in, and you are going to start believing your own sarcasm.

  3. According to her pharmacist, the amount of THC in her blood is not enough to make anyone high. The time Kastner will spend in jail will force her to miss a chemo session, which will force her to restart her whole regimen. Her doctor is not happy.

    Don’t wanna miss chemo, don’t be a thug.

  4. Habitual users are less likely to be impaired.

  5. Look at her, a cancer-ridden old lady on drugs. Is there anyone you would want driving a speeding death machine less than that? Come on, man.

    1. It’s Kansas, Sparky. Worse case scenario, she levels some corn stalks.

  6. This is your brain on roids.

  7. Cancer-Stricken Grandmother

    Whoa, she’s a grandmother. With cancer!
    This changes everything!

    1. Well, the cancer part does, yeah.

      1. Sorry, but I am immune to logical fallacies such as appeals to emotion. Driving while impaired is, as Robby likes to say, not OK.

        1. You ever drive with kids in the car, or on not enough sleep or talking on the phone? Those things all impair your driving at least as much as a low dose of THC. I don’t think anyone is really complaining that you aren’t allowed to drive all fucked up. The problem is that the standards for impairment under the law are arbitrary and don’t comport with reality.

          1. I was under the impression that the whole point of marinol was to get the nausea relief without the high. Its sort of crazy that anyone thinks that mild euphoria is a less tolerable side effect than, say, vomiting and all your hair falling out. It fucks with your brain, too, just not in a way anyone enjoys.

  8. If anything, being a habitual user of THC should be a defense against DUI charges.

    And I’m pretty sure that THC isn’t any of: a narcotic, hypnotic, somnifacient or stimulating drug

  9. Lived in Kansas once, some nice folks there, then again there are some real whacked out ones too, but I doubt the grandmother was one of them. Just glad I got out without ending up in jail or dead. That was 45 years ago, and I still don’t regret my decision to leave, but she was a cute little thing while it lasted.

    1. ^this is how you “Would” the cancer-stricken grandmother post with class.

  10. Nowhere is mentioned what the pretext for this traffic stop was. Tail light out?

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