In the weeks following the mysterious death of Sandra Bland, it almost feels like we have developed more questions than we have received answers. New developments recently surfaced in the investigation of her death — specifically a toxicology report — that indicate Bland had considerable amounts of THC in her system. Investigators believe this could indicate Bland possibly could have consumed marijuana while in jail, but either way we only have one question: does that really matter? Here are three reasons why we think not.

 

3. It’s marijuana…

Marijuana has seen a boom over the last few years, from its growing political and economic power, to the rise in medical efficacy. Interestingly enough, prior to her arrest, Bland had admitted to dealing with depression on social media, and during her arrest Bland insisted that she suffered from epilepsy — both of these conditions have proven treatable with medical grade cannabis.

 

Also, we understand that the law does not operate in shades of grey, but let’s get one thing clear: it’s just marijuana. The plant has already experienced full legalization in four states, and continues to gain support nationwide. President Obama recently commuted the sentences of 46 prisoners in jail for drug related offenses. Even if Bland’s traffic stop had occurred due to drugs or alcohol — which it wasn’t — the winds of change have blown for some time now, and marijuana would never warrant her violent arrest and demise.

 

2. Stop using that excuse!

From Trayvon Martin, to Michael Brown, and now Sandra Bland — whenever a black man or woman dies in an encounter with police, investigators want to look at levels of THC in their system. In a desperate attempt to spin the situation, they try to frame these victims as crazed drug addicts. The generally accepted side effects of marijuana are happiness and reduced energy levels; these things would only make someone easier to arrest. Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown had only trace levels of THC in their systems, and the arrest video of Sandra Bland shows she had her faculties about her to invoke her own civil rights.

 

1. It changes nothing about her arrest.

Let’s just watch it again:

 

When we break this whole thing down, we need to remember that the domino effect that led to Sandra Bland’s death started when a police officer pulled her over for not using her turn signal. Sure, she had an “attitude” during the stop, and maybe should could have acted in a more diplomatic way, but everything she did purely lied within her rights. According to civil rights attorney Eric Sanders, Bland’s refusal to extinguish her cigarette did not warrant Officer Brian Encinia’s removal of Bland from her car, nor did it warrant her arrest.

 

Police officers derive their power and authority from the Constitution, and Bland had the constitutional right to smoke in her car while the officer spoke to her. Police only have the authority to make “reasonable” requests; in other words: ones that ensure the safety of all parties involved in a given scenario. Encinia’s treatment of Bland stemmed purely from his feelings of disrespect from Bland, something which police receive training to ignore. Almost every instant of escalation in the arrest stems from the officer’s actions: he yanked Bland from her car despite her showing no signs of physical danger; he threatened use of his weapon; and he gloated when she exclaimed that he slammed her head into the ground.

 

All because she didn’t use her turn signal.

 

What else do you want to know about the Sandra Bland case? What are your thoughts on her THC levels? Comment below or tweet @connerws to tell us what you think!