The children of a woman, Kristine Kirk, who was shot by her husband, Richard Kirk, after he consumed a candy marijuana edible, are suing the candy manufacturer and store who sold him the candy. The children, now 9, 13, and 15 heard their mother being murdered and the youngest, who was 7 at the time, witnessed his mother die. The children are now living in the care of their mother’s parents and their aunt. Their new guardians filed the suit which claims that both companies “negligently, recklessly, and purposefully concealed vital dosage and labeling information from their actual and prospective purchasers, including Kirk, in order to make a profit.”
“Edibles Themselves are Not the Evil”
The family’s position is that companies should be warning consumers about correct dosing, how long the marijuana edibles take to have an effect, and full details of potential side effects. Greg Gold and David Olivas, who are the family’s lawyers, released a statement clarifying their point, stating, “While nothing can bring their parents back, this lawsuit will seek justice and change in an edible industry that is growing so fast it failed these young kids. Edibles themselves are not the evil. It is the failure to warn, the failure to properly dose, the failure to tell the consumer how to safely use edibles, that is the evil.”
Marijuana Edibles as Evidence
A “Karma Kandy Orange Ginger”, produced by Gaia’s Garden and sold to Kirk at the Nutritional Elements Inc. store, was found at the scene, partially eaten. The candy is about the size of a Tootsie Roll yet contains 10 servings of 10 milligrams of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. A 911 call was made earlier in the evening by Kristine Kirk, where she reported being deeply afraid as her husband was hallucinating, asking her to shoot him, talking about the end of the world, and jumping in and out of windows.
Unprecedented Psychotic Behavior
Kirk initially plead not guilty to the murder but then changed his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity. His lawyers found that blood taken from Kirk on the night of the murder indicated he had 2.3 nanograms of THC in his blood. The legal limit for driving in Colorado is 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Ryan Vandrey, a researcher at John Hopkins University’s School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, stated that eating marijuana edibles can lead to a powerful effect while still having low THC blood levels. Vandrey reports that while edibles can induce some psychotic behavior, he’s never heard of it having the effect it had on Kirk before.
This lends to more of the controversial aspects of the case, as the Kirks had been fighting a lot in the weeks leading up to the incident. Richard Kirk even changed his pay checks from going to the family’s joint account to being redirected to a personal account.
At any rate, after this incident, Colorado changed the state laws so that all marijuana edibles are to be properly labeled with dosage, directions, and warnings. This is the first wrongful death lawsuit filed against anyone in the cannabis industry. Hopefully with new labels, directions, and warnings, this will also be the last case of its kind.