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Marijuana possession

Young man arrested for marijuana possession dies in jail after guards ignore his severe food allergies

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: marijuana possession, jail death, food allergies

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(NaturalNews) The mother of a 22-year-old man who died in jail after being arrested for non-violent possession of all natural cannabis (marijuana) is suing Snohomish County in Washington state for the careless neglect of its jail's staff. According to reports, Michael Ryan Saffioti's pleas for medical assistance during a severe allergic reaction went completely unheard by the jail's wardens and medical personnel, which resulted in the young man dying, one of the latest casualties of the senseless war on marijuana.

Michael reportedly suffered from an extreme dairy allergy that left him unable to live and function like other young adults his age. One of the ways he coped with this allergy, which was so severe that he could not even be in close proximity to anything that contained dairy, was to use marijuana. Medicinally, cannabis helped ease Michael's anxiety about his condition and improved his overall quality of life, something his mother also recognized.

But at the time, marijuana had not yet been legalized in Washington state. And Michael had an outstanding warrant for misdemeanor marijuana possession after missing a previous court date, something his mother encouraged him to come clean about by turning himself in to police. He followed her advice, but the fatal consequences of this decision were nothing that either Michael or his mother could have ever anticipated.

Jail deliberately feeds Michael oatmeal that can kill him, then does nothing when he starts to die

Surveillance footage from inside the jail reveals that, on the morning after his arrest, Michael was given a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast that appeared to have milk in it. Michael is seen speaking with a guard, some servers and other inmates about the contents of the oatmeal, after which he appears to accept the food as safe and proceeds to sit down and eat it.

Just a few minutes later, Michael is seen rushing over to the guard's desk to grab his inhaler, upon which he asks to see a nurse. The guard denies him a nurse and instead sends Michael back to his jail cell, where he proceeds to repeatedly press the "Call" button for assistance, desperately trying to get care. Michael's continued cries for help are ignored, and he ends up passing out on the ground.

A shocking 35 minutes later, a guard comes by to check on Michael and finds him unconscious on the floor. Only then do nurses arrive to perform CPR on the young man, along with some firefighters, but it is already too late. Michael is pronounced dead a half-hour later, the result of flagrant negligence on the part of jail guards and staff.

"I wanted Michael to be held accountable for his legal issues, and I insisted on it," stated Rose Saffioti to KVAL News. "But I didn't want him to die."

Heartless guards ignore Michael as he passes out on cell floor

Even worse is that the Snohomish County Jail already knew about Michael's extreme allergy condition, as the jail's staff had his medical records on file. Even the guards who ignored his pleas for help were already aware of his special circumstances, says the family's lawyer, who is handling a $10 million lawsuit since filed by the mother against the facility.

"You can't get help. You can't call 911. You're at their complete mercy," said Anne Bremner, an attorney representing the Saffioti family, about Michael's situation in the jail. "When the jail's the one that gives you something that's going to kill you -- that they know is going to kill you -- they, at a minimum, have to rescue you. And they didn't."

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