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Family: Marijuana Edibles Caused Son's Death

03-26-2015

Police in Colorado are investigating whether edible marijuana gummies led a 23-year-old Oklahoma man to commit suicide.

Luke Goodman of Tulsa, Oklahoma, died at a hospital on Tuesday after shooting himself in the head while under the influence of marijuana gummy bears.

Goodman, a recent graduate of Oral Roberts University, was on a family vacation at the Keystone ski resort in Colorado where recreational marijuana is legal.

Earlier in the day, Goodman and his cousin Caleb Fowler legally purchased $78 worth of edible marijuana gummies. Each gummy contains 10 mg of the active ingredient in marijuana, which is the recommended dose for an adult consuming and edible.

After the first gummy, Goodman ate four more when he did not immediately feel the effects, equal to five times the recommended dosage.

His mother said her son probably did not see container's warning about the two hour delay in "intoxicating effects."

Several hours after Luke consumed the five gummies, his cousin Caleb noticed he appeared "jittery" and incoherent.

"He would make eye contact with us but didn't see us, didn't recognize our presence almost. He had never got close to this point, I had never seen him like this," Fowler told KCNC-TV.

Fowler said his cousin then became, "pretty weird and relatively incoherent. It was almost like something else was speaking through him." 

Later, Goodman's family left the condo where they were staying, leaving him behind. Shortly after, he shot himself with a handgun he typically travels with for protection.

The family does not believe Goodman would have done such a thing had it not been for the influence of the marijuana.

"He was the happiest guy in the world. He had everything going for him," his cousin said.

Goodman's mother, Kim Goodman, echoed that sentiment.

"It was 100 percent the drugs," she said. "It was completely because of the drugs - he had consumed so much of it."

"It was completely out of character for Luke," she continued. "There was no depression or anything that would leave us being concerned, nothing like that."

His death marks the third one in a year in Colorado that involved edible marijuana.

One year ago, Levy Pongi jumped to his death while visiting Denver after consuming an edible marijuana cookie containing 65mg of THC. Also, Denver resident Richard Kirk faces first degree murder charges from the fatal shooting of his wife after he consumed an edible marijuana candy.

Recreational marijuana can contain a max of 100 mg (10 servings) of THC per item, and it is legal to pack the entire 100 mg into one small piece of candy. 

According to Focus on the Family's Marijuana Case Study, the Colorado marijuana industry boasts the strongest marijuana on earth, with levels ranging from 20-30 percent THC. That's a dramatic increase from the 1 to 2 percent THC levels in marijuana in the 1970s.

That same study also shows that nearly 44 percent of recreational marijuana is used by out-of-state visitors, giving rise to Colorado's "Pot Tourism."

A state appointed task force has been meeting since May of 2014 to discuss active THC levels in marijuana products.

But despite the deaths, there have still been no changes made to the legal amount of THC allowed in edible marijuana.

Goodman's mother told CBS4 she believes such edible products should not even be available in the stores. 

"I would love to see edibles taken off the market," she said. "I think edibles are so much more dangerous."

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