Last week another violent horror story made national news, and once again, there’s a marijuana connection. Dakota Theriot, a 21-year-old from Louisiana, allegedly killed his parents, his girlfriend and her father and brother. A sheriff called the Dakota Theriot case an “extremely horrific example of failed mental health system.” Five people died, but the violent outbreak follows a pattern of family murders linked to pot use and mental illness.
Three months after Colorado opened marijuana stores, Richard Kirk shot and killed his wife while she was on the phone with 911. On November 12, Lori Gliha, an investigative journalist from the news magazine program Insight with John Ferruggia interviewed him on Rocky Mountain PBS. Most viewers who watched the jailhouse interview agree that he wouldn’t have killed his wife had he not eaten the marijuana edible.
Police say they found “fresh burnt marijuana as well as a haze of smoke in the apartment,” and blood in multiple areas of the apartment. Ness started his attack inside and then continued outside in a courtyard. A neighbor shot the father in his leg to stop the killing.
According to the report, of the deaths caused by parent or caregiver substance abuse, 56 used marijuana; 23 used alcohol; 16 involved cocaine; 14 were linked to methamphetamine, 2 involved opiates and 1 was connected to heroin. Many abusers were co-abusing substances, such as combining marijuana and cocaine.
Those who say that marijuana makes people calm misunderstand how cannabis works on their brain. People who advocate for “responsible” use of marijuana need to cut out the delusion and misrepresentation. Popular magazines such as Oprah, Allure and Cosmopolitan present marijuana use as glamorous or at the cutting edge of our culture. A California company MedMen, aka The Mad Men of Marijuana, aggressively tries to rebrand the stoner image.
In Atlantic Magazine last week, Annie Lowrey wrote an article exposing the truth about marijuana addiction. While the author tells the truth about addiction, she opines that marijuana is relatively benign compared to alcohol and tobacco. She may be basing her belief on old information, when 3 or 4% of the population used weed, vs. 65% using alcohol. Marijuana is far more toxic to the brain than tobacco.
Meanwhile, our country focuses on opiate addiction, instead of poly-drug abuse.