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Pot Candy Won’t Withstand Murder Trial

— April 13, 2017

Richard Kirk murdered his wife Kristine Kirk after eating Karma Kandy Orange Ginger, a marijuana laced candy.

Richard Kirk murdered his wife Kristine Kirk after eating  Karma Kandy Orange Ginger, a marijuana laced candy, which he claims is the cause of his actions on April 14, 2014.  The woman was on the phone with 911 operators when she met her demise and responders discovered her body lying on the floor with a gunshot wound to the head. Richard volunteered to an officer “without questioning” that he had killed his wife.  At the time, Richard, according to the 911 call placed by Kristine, also “was talking about the end of the world and he wanted her to shoot him.”  Kristine indicated there was a gun in their home, which they kept in a safe, but that her husband was hallucinating and scaring the kids.

Richard’s claims that the pot induced the murder came just after college student Levy Thamba Pongi ate a marijuana edible and died after falling from a balcony in Denver.  The death of the two individuals caused anti-marijuana groups to argue against the legalization of edible pot, citing that it only leads to tragedy.  “I had no idea how it would affect me…. I’m so sorry that I became the monster that I was supposed to protect them from,” Richard stated in court.  

In February 2017, Richard made a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to second degree murder in exchange for dropping a first-degree murder charge to a 25- to 30-year sentence.  He was formally sentenced on April 7th.  This eliminated the possibility of the pot candy withstanding trial, which was just fine for the Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA), which objected to any attempt at linkage to the crime.  

Man in handcuffs; image via Pxhere, CC0.
Man in handcuffs; image via Pxhere, CC0.

“The Cannabis Business Alliance acknowledges this was a horrific violent crime and our deepest sympathies continue to be with the family and friends that were affected by the tragic death of Kristine Kirk,” CBA executive director Kevin Gallagher submitted in a statement. “The industry is relieved that after years of investigations and mental evaluations that Richard Kirk accepted responsibility for his actions. CBA encourages public safety and consumer responsibility and is an advocate for proper dosing and consumer education, such as the Start Low, Go Slow campaign.”  The statement continued,“the edible reportedly consumed by Richard Kirk prior to committing this horrific crime was properly labeled in accordance with state law and rules in place at the time. As a fledgling industry, it is not unexpected to be under increased scrutiny. However, the fact remains that violent crimes decreased in Denver from 2013 to 2014, and legalizing medical marijuana causes no increase in crime, according to a recent study. In fact, legalized medical pot may reduce some violent crime, including homicide.”

The CBA instead says that the drug offers “a positive medicinal option for patients including veterans suffering from PTSD and children with debilitating conditions such as epilepsy and spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy” and cites a “recent report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment” which “found that marijuana consumption by Colorado high school students has dipped since the state first permitted recreational Cannabis use by adults.”

Whether the legalization of cannabis and edibles, such as pot candy, increases or reduces crime is a hot topic that continues to be debated.


Murder and Pot Edibles: Group Defends Industry After Richard Kirk Sentencing

Richard Kirk, Denver man, sentenced for murdering his wife while high on marijuana edibles

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