Can Cannabis Kill?

Can Cannabis Kill?

(Photo: CBS Denver)

In the decades-old battle of marijuana prohibition, those who favor legalization have always had one ace-in-the-hole, a trump card if you will: cannabis cannot kill you.

Zero recorded deaths in history. No matter what prohibitionists say, they can produce no proof that someone has died from cannabis.

After election night 2012, when Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana, prohibitionists became desperate. They could see the writing was on the wall; legalization was inevitable. They had to find something to stem the tide of marijuana legalization!

Many of you may remember the story of Richard Kirk, a man who shot and killed his wife while allegedly “hallucinating” after eating too much of a marijuana edible. Prohibitionists jumped on this story as proof of the dangers of legalization; after all, this incident happened in Colorado after legalization!

The story is referenced in just about every media appearance by a prohibitionist. The link between Kirk’s murder of his wife and the marijuana edible he ate has never really been explained; we are just supposed to accept the fact that one caused the other.

So I’m reading the story linked above and I get to the fourth paragraph of it, where I find this sentence: “She reported that he was ‘totally hallucinating’ after consuming marijuana, possibly combined with a prescription painkiller.”

Wait a minute. This is the first mention I’ve seen of a prescription painkiller. Admittedly, I haven’t read all of the dozens of articles written about this story, but I’ve read a lot. How is this not an important part of the narrative?

Anyone who has consumed alcohol and cannabis at the same time knows of the vastly altered effects when compared to consuming cannabis alone. The same is true with pills, especially strong ones like painkillers. 

While it’s true that Richard Kirk likely ate way more of an edible than he should have, it’s a stretch to claim cannabis is the reason he tragically shot his wife.