This Could Be First Wrongful-Death Lawsuit Against Recreational Pot

Man allegedly killed his wife after eating a marijuana edible
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2016 4:44 PM CDT
This Could Be First Wrongful-Death Lawsuit Against Recreational Pot
Richard Kirk   (Denver Police Department via AP, File)

A Colorado family is suing the maker and seller of a marijuana edible for wrongful death after a man ate the candy before allegedly killing his wife. The Denver Post reports it's likely the first-ever such lawsuit against the recreational marijuana industry. Authorities say Richard Kirk ate a Karma Kandy Orange Ginger, then shot his wife Kristine while their three young children were present. Kirk claims the edible caused "delirium and psychotic-like symptoms," according to KDVR. And the lawsuit filed this week by Kristine's parents and sister on behalf of her children blames the edible's maker, Gaia's Garden, and seller, Nutritional Elements Inc., for not properly labeling the candy for potency and potential side effects.

"The manufacturers of dog treats have shown more concern for the health and well-being of dogs…than the edible producers have shown for…people," the Post quotes the lawsuit as saying. The lawsuit claims Kirk had no way of knowing what the effects of the edible—which contained 10 servings of THC in the size of a Tootsie Roll—would be. Regulations on the labeling of edibles have since been changed. An expert says the wrongful-death lawsuit has little chance of succeeding. "We don't hold vodka producers responsible for drunk drivers," he tells the Post. Kirk has been charged with murder and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors say he had a low level of THC in his blood after killing his wife, which they say he did on purpose over financial and marital stress. CBS Denver reports Kirk also took pain pills with the edible. (Inside the story of Colorado's first "legal pot" death.)

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