Two recreational cannabis companies in Colorado — Gaia’s Garden LLC, a manufacturer of infused edibles, and Nutritional Elements Inc., a retailer of recreational cannabis products — have been named as defendants in the first wrongful-death lawsuit against the U.S. cannabis industry.
According to The Denver Post, the lawsuit claims that both companies failed to issue appropriate warnings about the potency and potential side-effects of a cannabis-infused candy purchased by Richard Kirk on April 14, 2014. Hours later, Kristine Kirk called 911 out of fear that her husband might hurt her. However, the mother of three was shot and killed by Kirk, who now faces first-degree murder charges in his wife’s death.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the couple’s children by Kristine Kirk’s parents and sister. “While nothing can bring their parents back, this lawsuit will seek justice and change in an edible industry that is growing so fast it failed these young kids,” said attorneys Greg Gold and David Olivas, who represent the family. “Edibles themselves are not the evil, it is the failure to warn, the failure to properly dose, the failure to tell the consumer how to safely use edibles, that is the evil.”
A partially consumed “Karma Kandy Orange Ginger” infused candy was found in the residence, which was the size of a tootsie roll and contained roughly 100 milligrams of THC, or ten doses. A toxicology report indicated there were trace amounts of THC in Kirk’s bloodstream the night of the shooting — though his intoxication level was still well below the legal driving limit. No signs of alcohol or other drugs were found.
Colorado updated edible label requirements in January, 2015, requiring companies to provide detailed dosage information on recreational cannabis products. Edibles must now be either individually wrapped or somehow clearly separated into doses of 10 milligrams or less.
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