The cannabis industry is still in it’s infancy in this country, so we’re seeing a lot of firsts for things, such as massive recalls and even neighboring states suing each other. The newest lawsuit that is turning heads in Colorado is the first time an edible company has been sued for negligence that resulted in the wrongful death of an innocent mother. Her three sons have filed a suit that says that both the store that sold the edibles and the company that made them recklessly and purposefully failed to warn their father about the edible’s potency and side effects. The father, Richard Kirk, shot and killed his wife after having a psychotic breakdown that is now being attributed to the edibles.
In April of 2014, Denver police department received a call from Kristine Kirk saying that her husband has been ranting psychotically about the end of the world and was jumping out of windows. Not long after there was a gunshot that killed Kristine. All three of her sons heard the shot and the youngest had to watch his mother die. Their family believes that this incredibly traumatic experience wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for their father’s accidental overdose on a Karma Kandy Orange Ginger candy that was discovered partially eaten at their house. The lawsuit points out that neither the packaging or the distributor takes the time to explain to a consumer about the potency and adverse side effects. This particular candy had a total of 100 mg of THC that were supposed to be delivered in ten servings. Since the incident the laws have already been changed in Colorado to require potency and serving sizes to be indicated on the packaging. The husband has been charged with first degree murder, but has plead not guilty by reason of insanity. The defense believes that Richard’s actions were premeditated and related to financial stress. The toxicology reports showed a very small about of THC in his bloodstream.
Many don’t believe that the lawsuit will be successful, which looks to bring justice to the children of the victim. Vodka companies and liquor stores don’t have lawsuits filed against them for people committing crimes while drunk and dispensaries hope to have that same standard. The prosecution claims that there is more effort put into the warning labels on dog food than on cannabis edibles. They believe that these companies are expediting the process in lieu of consumer’s health. No matter the result of this case, it is truly a heartbreaking story. Hopefully the edible industry can find a proper way to label potency and the side effects for a product that seems to affect each person very differently.