According to two experts, an initial toxicology report for Sandra Bland raises the possibility that she may have used marijuana while behind bars.
The 28-year-old black woman from suburban Chicago was found dead in the Waller County Jail on July 13, three days after her arrest during a traffic stop.
The amount of THC, one of the active components of marijuana, in Bland’s system was 18 micrograms per liter, according to the report released Monday. “That’s more than three times the legal limit for drivers in Colorado and Washington, states that permit the recreational use of marijuana,” according to the Daily Mail.
University of Florida toxicology professor Bruce Goldberger, who reviewed the report for The Associated Press, said Bland was impaired by marijuana at the time of her death. “I don’t think it’s possible to rule out the possibility of use while in jail,” he said.
Goldberger added, Bland had a ‘remarkably high concentration’ of THC for someone who had been in jail for three days.
The chief toxicologist at the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office in Fort Worth, also reviewed the report. He told the Assoc. Press that a THC level as high as Bland’s suggests she “either had access to the drug in jail or she was a consistent user of the drug and her body had accumulated THC to the point that it was slowly releasing it over time.”
The Tarrant County toxicologist also said he’s never seen a report that showed residual THC that high, three days after someone stops using the drug.
Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis declined to comment Monday on the toxicology report, saying final findings were still being prepared, according to the article.
However, one of his prosecutors said last week that he wouldn’t rule out the drug being smuggled into the jail. ‘It may be relevant as to her state of mind to determine what happened on the street,’ he said. ‘It may be relevant to her state of mind to determine how or why she committed suicide.’
Bland was laid to rest a few days ago. Her family disputes the claim by jail officials that she committed suicide by hanging herself with a plastic garbage bag inside her cell. They have ordered an independent autopsy.