Recreational pot industry slammed with first wrongful death lawsuit


A new lawsuit claims two marijuana businesses are responsible for the death of a Denver mother who was shot and killed by her husband after he ate marijuana candy and reportedly started hallucinating.

The case is the first wrongful death case against the billion-dollar recreational marijuana industry. Kristine Kirk's sons claim the edible should have carried a warning label that included dosage instructions and side effects - including hallucination, paranoia and psychosis.

"Edible marijuana is coming upon you slower and slower so you take something the size of a Tootsie Roll - which he did - you take a bite, you don't get high, so you keep eating and you were supposed to only have that one little bite..." CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman told "CBS This Morning," explaining how Richard Kirk may have consumed dangerous levels of THC, leading to his violent, erratic behavior.

Colorado has regulations that restrict edibles to a serving size of 10-milligrams of THC, require child-resistant packaging and warning statements on side effects. But these were enforced in 2015, a year after Kirk's death.

The attorney for the candy maker told "CBS This Morning" that it is a lawfully-operated business that complies with required labels."

According to Klieman, the marijuana companies will argue the industry should be protected from fault as with alcohol sellers, and shifting the blame onto Richard Kirk by showing that the killing was "intentional."

"This is a bad guy who committed a homicide and that defense goes along with a criminal prosecution because the criminal prosecution of Mr. Kirk is that there may have been marital problems or financial difficulties and this is intention, this is not about negligence," Klieman explained the industry's defense.

Klieman said she anticipates the case to go forward but could not say whether it would go to a jury trial.