The suicide of an Oklahoma man in Keystone last weekend will inevitably increase the focus on the regulation and vilification of marijuana edibles in Colorado.

The death of the young man, who shot himself while on a ski vacation after reportedly ingesting five times the recommended dosage of marijuana edibles, is tragic and sad on many levels.

It is certainly understandable that his family would think that the marijuana, especially in such a high dose, would be involved.

However, this tragic death should not become a reason to vilify and regulate marijuana edibles as some sort of societal danger.

I do not know enough about chemistry to know what extreme high levels of THC can do in a human body, but the fact remains that this case is filled with various details that beget more questions.

The family of the suicide victim has the right to their own beliefs and their collective privacy in the face of such a tragedy.

However, if anti-marijuana activists wish to use this event as a way to justify further regulation, the other details of this tragedy become fair game. I don’t think that is fair to the victim’s family, nor a good idea for anti-pot activists.

If activists make the argument that edibles, taken in extremes, lead to suicides, comparisons to other drugs will quickly weaken their argument.

The real story should turn to how we do not keep track of how many suicides occur after the use of other legal drugs.

I’ve seen alcohol lead to both immediate and slow suicides. However, suicides by people who drink excessively before ending their lives are not reported.

Marijuana is a legal drug and as a mind altering substance, like alcohol, using it brings inherent risks to all who use it. Every person must be responsible for their own safety at some point.

Reasonable regulation certainly must be in place, but tragic events should not be turned into a political tool to demonize a substance.

About The Blogger

– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning “Colorado Inside Out” on Colorado Public Television.

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