*Reader discretion is advised, content describes details of violent crimes.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Despite the public perception of pot users being laid back and too lazy for anger, the evidence suggests otherwise. Most people perceive alcohol as the substance most often connected to domestic violence. But other drugs, like marijuana, contribute handily to the mix.
We’ve failed to stem domestic violence in the US, despite strong efforts to provide services and numerous shelters for women. Many advocates against domestic violence assert that unequal power and control are the only driving forces involved in violence. Actually, substance abusers perpetrate more than 80 percent of domestic violence, according to estimates. Some studies put the rate at 94% of domestic violence.
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.
There, a night of partying — Bacardi rum, Mike’s Hard Lemonade and half of a marijuana cookie — left her feeling so intoxicated she says could not get out of a car on her own that night when she went with Masina and a group of his friends to get fast food, and she said she cannot recall how she got back inside the house.
She said the next thing she remembered after passing out was waking up with Masina raping her.
“It hurt. It was very painful,” she said, and though she said she felt “scared and helpless,” she tried to move her legs to stop him.
“Did you consent in any way to the sexual contact you’ve been describing?” the prosecutor asked.
“No,” the woman said.
The woman testified she passed out and awoke several more times throughout the night, each time to a different horror: She awoke to Masina forcing her to engage in oral sex so rough she could not breathe; she awoke unable to move from a couch and unable to reach someone to come help her; she awoke, wearing only a bra and a blanket, on the lawn of a neighboring home where she saw Masina’s car still parked outside and “that fear came over me again because I knew he was still in the house.”
Calling Out the Role of Marijuana is not “Victim Shaming”
The description of the rape is horrible. The evidence suggests that the football player and the woman were abusing substances before the sexual activity occurred. The law should not excuse this behavior towards a woman who has passed out.
Nine days earlier, Masina, her high school friend, had invited the victim to Los Angeles for a long weekend. At that time, Masina, the woman and another football player, Max Hill, partied hard. The victim took marijuana, two Xanax pills along with alcohol The woman alleges that both Masina and Don Hill raped her. Masina and Hill were suspended from the team, but a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles has been dismissed.
Alcohol can produce some pretty outrageous behaviors, but when alcohol mixes with marijuana or other drugs, extremes happen. This case, the Stanford swimmer’s case and many others exemplify why we need to educate against intoxication. It is not “victim shaming” to explain that the 19-year-old would not have passed out if she had did not eat half a marijuana cookie. The effects of marijuana cookies happen about two hours after ingestion.
There is no mention of how and when Masina or the woman obtained the cookies. Who bought or provided the cookie? Was interstate drug trafficking involved? Calling out substance abuse as a factor doesn’t excuse rape, but it warns of the conditions in which rape is most likely to occur.
No on 2 Predicted Correctly
In 2014, the Florida Vote No on 2 Campaign forecast that marijuana would become the new date-rape drug. Journalists, respectable blogs and the marijuana industry laughed at the idea. No on 2’s prediction was correct. Let’s hope the prosecutor explores the role of the pot-laced cookie during the trial. It should serve as a warning against this type of impairment.
States should pass laws to clarify consent for sexual activity in order to guard against rape and unwanted sex. Equally important, educators need to inform about the role of substance abuse in domestic violence and rape. Pedophiles often give marijuana to their victims.
Even groups concerned with violence against women remain in the dark. Colleges don’t do enough to warn against drugs to avoid unwanted sex. In fact, the United States is quite backwards compared to other countries in failing to see the connection. Those who blame alcohol only, and not other drugs, are complicit in the denial.
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.
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.