Joseph D. Hudek felt fine getting on the plane. He then took a cannabis edible. His flight ended with bottles smashed over his head and his arrest on felony charges.
In February he pled guilty to those charges and is scheduled to be sentenced in May. He faces up to 20 years behind bars. Hudek’s legal team used the edible as a defense for the rage that caused him to attempt to open the cabin door mid-flight from Seattle to Beijing.
Hudek was in First Class, using his mother’s benefits as a Delta employee. It took several passengers to restrain him as the 767 returned to Seattle, according to court filings. The FBI said, “Hudek did not seem impacted by the breaking of a full liter red wine bottle over his head, and instead shouted, ‘Do you know who I am?’ or words to that effect.”
Seattle weekly The Stranger looks back on the incident as a cautionary tale:
The problem may have been that Hudek ate more because he didn’t get high quickly enough; it can take over an hour for an edible to start to hit you, and in that time, many people make the mistake of overindulging. Who among us hasn’t made the mistake of eating too much pot and getting way too high? While the particulars of the violent mid-flight struggle are shocking, there is a familiar pattern at play here.
Thankfully for the future Hudeks of the world, pot edibles don’t have to be this way. It takes forever for an edible to get you high because those edibles must pass through your digestive system and your liver before the THC gets into your bloodstream.
The judge rejected his explanation of mental incapacity, ruling he consumed the cannabis voluntarily, said one prosecutor.
From famed New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s horror-show experience to Hudek attempting to walk out on his flight, there have been numerous tales in the media about new, and seasoned users, succumbing to anxiety and paranoia because they didn’t know how to properly dose the cannabis. Impatience is, after all, a defining American trait.
The solution is practical. If you are trying a new edible for the first time, start low and go slow is the mantra. Be in a safe, calm place, preferably among friends (you know, kind of the opposite of a tans-Pacific flight). And most importantly: Don’t get impatient.