Tag Archives: Kristine Kirk

Ten Years After the Deaths of Levy Thamba and Kristine Kirk, Part I

What have we learned 10 years after the deaths of Levy Thamba and Kristine Kirk?  We ask that question as April 15, the tenth anniversary of Kristine’s death, approaches. Unfortunately, the USA continues to make critical mistakes by allowing the expansion of marijuana. One problem is the increasing number of violent episodes related to cannabis-induced psychosis. Some incidents made the news this year, including four stabbings in Rockford, IL.

Another issue is that states legalized pot without guardrails to deter stoned drivers, resulting in a huge increase in traffic deaths

This article covers some of the many psychotic events and tragedies related to THC in the early legalization states of Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California.  

Colorado Cases

Levi Thamba Pongi,19, jumped three stories to his death after eating a marijuana cookie in Colorado on March 11, 2014.  Thamba, an exchange student from the Congo, traveled from Wyoming to Colorado two months after Colorado legalized pot.   The report listed marijuana intoxication as a significant contributor to his death.  

Richard Kirk of Colorado killed his wife on April 15, 2014, after ingesting marijuana candy. Before it happened, Kristine Kirk called 911 and explained her husbands was hallucinating and wanted her to kill him.  Just minutes before police arrived, he shot his wife.  Three children witnessed the event and are now in the custody of Kristine’s parents.  Kirk is serving a 30-year sentence for the crime.

Luke Goodman, 23, traveled to Colorado with his family and tried marijuana Colorado on March 21, 2015.  When two edibles did not affect him, he took three more. Several hours later he shot himself and died three days later.  The family believes that marijuana was the cause of his suicide.

Daniel Juarez‘s family believes cannabis intoxication caused his death.  He stabbed himself multiple times under acute intoxication on September 26, 2012, weeks before the vote to legalize.  Had the report been made public, some say Coloradans never would have voted for legalization.   He was 17 at the time.

Top to bottom, l to r: Levy Thamba, Kristine Kirk and Richard Kirk; Robert Corry and Luke Goodman; Hamza Warsame, Brandon Powell and Bryn Spejcher

Cases from Washington

Hamza Warzame, 16, Seattle, jumped 6 floors to his death after smoking marijuana for the first time with a 21-year-old friend in 2015.  At first, police investigated a possible hate crime because Warsame was a Muslim. The cannabis was purchased legally in a Seattle recreational pot store, but it was illegal for Warsame to be using it.  He may have been trying to jump from building to building, without trying to kill himself.

Joseph Hudek – a man from Tampa, Florida — purchased marijuana edibles in Seattle before going on a flight from Seattle to Beijing.  He tried to open a door during the flight. When an attendant and passenger were helping to subdue him, he punched them.  In an affidavit, he said that he ingested the drugs in Seattle before getting on the plane.   Perhaps Hudek expected Seattle pot to mellow him and put him to sleep during the overseas trip.   In the recent incident of an off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot trying to take over a plane, the man actually was actually tripping on psilocybin mushrooms, another hallucinogen.

 Crystal Daniels, of Washington, drove her vehicle into a utility pole around 1:40 AM on June 17, 2015. The crash caused power lines to fall to the ground and resulted in “about a hundred yards of flames.” When King County sheriff’s police arrived at the scene, they had to pull her out a back window of the vehicle.  She was completely naked and babbling incoherently. The electricity outage affected about 4000 residents in Shoreline, a city about 10 miles from Seattle.  She had 28 ng of THC hydroxyl in her blood and 8.5 ng. of THC.

Missing teens in Washington and Oregon

Logan Schiendelman went missing at age 19, back in May 2016, from Tumwater, Washington. His story has been told on Dateline and on the Missing Persons podcast.  One of the few things noted about Logan that could relate to his disappearance was his marijuana usage. His grandmother also said: “I know he did a lot of smoking pot, and I’ve wondered sometimes if that caused a little bit of paranoia.” 

Brandon Powell, an 18-year-old from Estacaba, Oregon had a panic attack after taking a highly potent marijuana dab in March 2017. He left home in his pajamas and search missions found dead in a river one month and a half month later in a river.   Dabs are a highly potent form of marijuana that is more popular with teens who use marijuana than with adults. His case is similar to that of Jelani Day from Illinois

California drug normalization; teen parties with heavy marijuana use

On May 28, 2018, Chad O’Melia and Bryn Spejcher were smoking marijuana out of a bong in southern California. Bryn became acutely psychotic and stabbed Chad over 100 times, ending his life. She also stabbed herself and her dog.  The Bryn Spejcher trial was covered in numerous news outlets earlier this year.  A judge sentenced her to probation and community service, even though the jury convicted her of involuntary manslaughter.  Numerous podcasts discuss the trial, including Every Brain Matters and Dr. Daniel Bober. 

Cases in California confirm the failures of the state’s harm reduction approach to drug education. Both Kiely Rodni, 16, and Karlee Lain Gusé, 16, went missing after attending teen parties featuring heavy marijuana use.  Keili was found in a submerged car two weeks later, although Karlee has never been found.  Keili’s death was probably accidental.  The toxicology report on Kelli revealed caffeine, nicotine, and Delta-9 THC.  A review of Karlee’s tragic disappearance suggests impairment from THC, but also the possibility that she may have been harmed.  The FBI has a long case file with testimony from the family.

Autopsies listed “drowning” as the official cause of death for Keili Rodni, Jelani Day and Brandon Powell, but would they have drowned without the THC?  Probably not!  The bottom line — with or without psychosis — marijuana raises your odds of death by accident or otherwise.

Odd cases of psychosis in Colorado

In the Denver Mall, a homeless man started physically attacking people with a PVC pipe, in June, 2016. The 28-year-old man had moved from Indiana to Colorado for marijuana.  Mayor Michael Hancock, blamed the rash of violence on the 16th Street Mall on legalized marijuana. “This is one of the results of the legalization of marijuana in Denver, and we’re going to have to deal with it.”

Robert Corry, the attorney behind Colorado’s successful legalization ballot in 2012, later regretted pushing legalization.  He himself went crazy, and he suffered from cannabis-induced psychosis. Corry went from being the pot advocates’ favorite lawyer to having his law license suspended for one year. 

What have states learned?   Nothing

Perhaps Virginia’s governor, Glenn Youngkin, and New Hampshire’s Governor Chris Sununu have learned lessons from other states.  Only two states, Vermont and Connecticut, cap the potency of THC.   States like California and Washington refuse to pass sensible regulations about warning labels.  They care more about pleasing wealthy donors invested in the cannabis industry.  Too many lives have been destroyed.

Pot advocates who claim teen use doesn’t rise with legalization remain silent about the use of high-potency THC products promoted since legalization.   Part 2 will cover psychotic episodes in other states.  

Richard Kirk interview confirms marijuana as unsafe swap for opiates

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.

The State of Colorado deserves a good portion of the blame for the death of Kristine Kirk. Continue reading Richard Kirk interview confirms marijuana as unsafe swap for opiates

Edibles in Oregon Have Potency Limits

Colorado Petitioners Want THC Limits, Too

When marijuana cookies and candies began to sell in Oregon’s recreational marijuana market on June 2, the THC level for edibles could be no more than 15 milligrams per serving.  (THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive element in marijuana. )

Oregon’s rules also state that dispensaries may sell only one edible per customer per day, and buyers must be at least 21.  Before June 2, only medical marijuana cardholders in Oregon were allowed to buy edibles and extracts.

In Colorado on Thursday, June 16, the Supreme Court cleared the way for a ballot to limit the THC for marijuana sold in that state to 16 percent THC, for all types of marijuana.    Edibles would be limited to single serving packages, also.  The petitioners behind the ballot will have until August 8 to collect 98,000 to get it on the November ballot.  (More information is in a blog article published yesterday.)

Most pot products currently sold in Colorado and Washington exceed 20 percent THC.  Marijuana cookies and candies in Colorado and Washington can have as much as 10 servings, increasing the chance of psychotic reactions. (Photo above is by Krystyna Wentz-Graff/Oregonian)

Oregon’s rules about edibles show the desire to avoid some of the strong, adverse reactions to edibles that happened in Washington and Colorado.   In Colorado, the family of Kristine Kirk has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against an edibles maker and the store who sold her husband the marijuana candy that made him psychotic.   He shot his wife and now awaits trial for her murder.

However, the rules for edibles will change again later this year, as Noelle Crombie explains in the Oregonian.  The complication just proves how difficult regulating marijuana is.  Maureen Dowd explained horrible reaction to a marijuana edible in Colorado made national news, and it seems Oregon doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes of Colorado and Washington.

While Oregon’s THC limits on edibles are lower than elsewhere, Oregon’s THC limits on marijuana extracts seem rather high.  According to rules set up by the state, buyers are allowed one container of up to 1000 milligrams of THC extract.  Extracts are concentrates processed from marijuana and used to make edibles. The extracts also can be smoked or vaporized.   Let’s hope novices won’t be buying the extracts.  The public and children must be protected!   Lotions and topical ointments may now have 6% THC.

House of Representatives Passes Marijuana for Veterans Amendment

Allowing Veterans Marijuana for PTSD Ignores all Science

An amendment which will require Veterans’ Administration psychiatrists to allow medical marijuana for veterans with PTSD passed the House of Representatives on May 19.  If this law had been in place on February 2, 2013, when Eddie Routh killed Chad Littlefield and Chris Kyle, their families could have sued the VA.

The defendant in the “American Sniper” murder trial, Eddie Routh, was found guilty of murder even though he plead not guilty by reason of insanity.  Prosecutors argued his deadly behavior was brought on not by schizophrenia, but weed. They called it “marijuana psychosis.”   He was a veteran, but certainly not the first veteran to go into a raging psychosis after using marijuana.  One of Parents Opposed to Pot’s followers begged us for help to save her son.

Congress is choosing to act against the scientific literature, most recently the study from Yale which covered more than 2,000 veterans between 1992 and 2011.  For the veterans who used marijuana, there was a worsening of PTSD symptoms and increased violence.    Congress is following a course that risks making people who are already fragile more depressed and anxious, and possibly violent.

Other Marijuana – Related Lawsuits

Lawsuits involving medical and recreational marijuana are mounting.  The family of Kristine Kirk, who was shot by her husband during his cannabis-induced psychosis, are filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the three Kirk children.  A recreational marijuana manufacturer and store that sold a weed-laced candy to Richard Kirk are named in the suit.  Kirk is awaiting trial on charges he shot his wife to death after consuming the treat. The lawsuit, according to the Denver Post, claims the manufacturer and store failed to properly warn Kirk of the candy’s potency and possible side effects, including hallucinations and psychotic episodes.

The family of Kate Steinle, killed by Francesco Sanchez, whom San Francisco refused to prosecute for his marijuana crimes, is now suing the city of San Francisco.   Sanchez, under the influence of marijuana, was delusional and terrified because he thought he saw a sea lion.  (Some people see this as an immigration issue, but Parents Opposed to Pot notices that if he served time for his marijuana crimes, he would not have been on the street.)

A 16-year-old Seattle boy jumped six floors to his death after the first time he tried marijuana on December 5, 2015.    Although the marijuana was purchased legally, Hamza Warsame was not a legal consumer.  After extensive investigation, his death was determined to be an accident caused by his reaction to marijuana.

Coverup of the Marijuana -Psychosis Risk

First the American Press and now Congress is ignoring the scientific literature that shows marijuana is related to psychosis and violence.

Information on the marijuana and psychosis risk was presented at the National Press Office more than 11 years ago.   A video meant to be a Public Service Announcement for parents and their children was ignored by the American Press.    The media coverup has continued.

Lives could have been saved, and so many cases of mental illness and psychotic breakdowns and crimes could have been prevented – if the American Press had decided to report to the public.    In fact the scientific evidence on each of the following is voluminous: marijuana & psychosis, marijuana & violence and marijuana & psychiatric disorders.