Despite the trio of accidents, "no consideration at this point in time has been given to changing those mechanisms," Ford says in an e-mail.

That's unacceptable to DePinto. While he's not about to excuse Maez for her role in the tragedy, CDOT has created a "fucking death trap," he says, adding that he's surprised more accidents haven't occurred there. He'd like to see not just drawbars and signs, but retractable steel gates timed with the lights.

"Because right now it has cost somebody's life," he says. "And not just a somebody, a huge source of light for a lot of people."

Jeremy DePinto and Jenny Kush loved cannabis…and each other.
Jeremy DePinto and Jenny Kush loved cannabis…and each other.
Rebecca Maez was charged with vehicular assault and homicide while driving under the influence.
Rebecca Maez was charged with vehicular assault and homicide while driving under the influence.


The sad irony of a cannabis activist being killed by a drunk driver is not lost on her friends. While local law enforcement agencies made 1,342 arrests for driving under the influence over the Labor Day period, the statistics do not distinguish between drivers arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But anecdotal evidence suggests that by far the majority involved alcohol.

Kush wasn't against alcohol as much as she was for making responsible choices, they say. "Right now what I think is happening is people are vilifying alcohol and drinkers, and that is not what she stands for," Georgia Edson says. "Jeremy and I had a conversation about it. It is about responsible use in whatever substance you choose to use; your personal choices should not get in the way of someone else's personal choices. And that is the crux of what Jenny fought for in all of her activism, particularly being a cannabis activist. It's a personal-freedoms issue. It's all about the fact that adults should be able to make decisions that are right for them. That ends when it becomes wrong for someone else. That is clearly what happened."

DePinto puts it more succinctly: "She always said that if everyone would care about everybody else, you wouldn't have to worry about yourself, because someone would automatically be caring for you."

And judging from the outpouring of grief for Kush and support for her children and DePinto, she was successful in delivering that message.

Since the accident, thousands of people have offered their condolences through e-mail, through Facebook and in person. A celebration of Jenny Kush's life at the HoodLab gallery a few days after her death was packed with people — many of whom said they had never met Kush in person, but that she'd touched their lives in very meaningful ways.

"I think that it is really obvious that she was loved and that she was a magnetic force," says Georgia Edson. "Wednesday night at HoodLab, hundreds of people came. People that Jenny had never met. Jeremy said that 50 percent of the people he hugged he didn't know personally. But it was that important to them to celebrate her."

Numerous other tributes over the past few weeks have remembered Kush. There was a moment of loudness for her at the High Times Seattle Cannabis Cup — because Kush would have liked it better than silence. And the main stage of the Boston Freedom Rally last weekend was named in Kush's honor. Even more appropriate is a soon-to-be-released line of Jenny Kush Kush seeds. Rare Dankness Seeds founder Scott Reach and his wife were good friends of Kush's; Reach says the cross of Amnesia Haze and Kush is his way of keeping her cannabis spirit alive while raising money for her children.

Even without the Jenny Kush Kush, a campaign that Reach's wife set up for Kush's children had raised $12,348 as of September 13.

Kush's children are with their grandmother. Lori Monson says they've been going through a rough patch since the accident, but all four have gone back to school and are trying to return to as much of a normal life as possible.

Jenny was buried near where she grew up in Bottineaux, North Dakota, in the Turtle Mountains. When her parents went back to the gravesite the day after the funeral, a moose was chewing up the flowers left on Kush's grave. Kush's mother chuckles as she recalls the sight: "Jenny would have really loved that."

ButDePinto says that Kush's funeral in North Dakota was sad and depressing, like most funerals for people killed way too young. He'd like to have her remembered in a brighter light. And so he wants to have a big sendoff for SexPot Radio, probably on Tuesday, September 24, when anyone who wants to say something about Jenny Kush for posterity will be given a few minutes of airtime. More important, he plans to hold a candlelight vigil at the Capitol on September 30, with Kush's parents and children in attendance. But rather than make this memorial a somber event, he hopes it will have a joyous, boisterous vibe that truly captures Jenny Kush.

"I want her parents and family to witness what true love — " DePinto says, pausing to choose the right words — "what unconditional love looks like."

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patricia.calhoun moderator editortopcommenter

we'd like to publish some of the comments about this story in our print edition -- ideally with your full name/town. If that's okay, e-mail me at

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

If you read the article, the problem besides the drunk driver. is the way the on/off ramp is set up and despite other deaths CDOT (co. dept of transp.) has done NOTHING. You see here in Colorado, one death is a blip.

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

The govt doesn't care except to get its grubby hands and any and all money


I never met Jenny, but I know others who were victims of drunk drivers and have been a victim of a presumed drunk driver myself. So can I say I have a passionate doubleplus unlove for drunk drivers? Seriously I think that drunk drivers should get one chance to get their $&*% together and drive responsibly, second offense is mandatory loss of the motor vehicle, with the vehicle recycled in front of the driver if someone was injured, or recycled with the driver behind the wheel if someone was killed.

And that is how doubleplus unlove I am for drunk drivers.



Good Article(a rarity in Westword) William Breathes

As I rode the HOV Lane with Thoughts of the accident in mind, it was easily apparent that the Culprit, Besides "The unamed Drunk", turned from 70th. If CDOT refuses to make changes to their existing offering, They SHOULD AT VERY LEAST put up a 'Flip Sign' that would alert drivers as they are entering the WRONG WAY. I DO NOT Think this is too much to ask CDOT to do in light of Three serious accidents. Jeremy is an Amazing Spirit, and I wish him Much ONE LOVE healing energy.

Bret Egan
Bret Egan

Besides being a victim of a drunk driver, government also failed Jenny Kush,


I just want to say thank you to the Westword for making this a cover story. I didnt know this girl, but the story has haunted me since i first read it. (see my comment on that first Westword coverage story) I can tell by her pictures, and what friends have said about her that she was a life loving person who deserved to live. I dont smoke weed. nor do I drink,  But I do agree it is unbelievable alcohol is legal and weed is not. And when I read yet another story of some selfish, stupid fucking  drunk stealing time in this earth from another innocent person cause they decided to selfishly drive after glutinously stuffing themselves of booze, It makes me want to go to a bar just to beat some drunk fucks ass.  I hope this chick responsible gets life. But she probably wont. She will probably be out of jail inside of the next ten years. Meanwhile, theres a drug dealer somewhere in the us being sentenced to 25 years. This bitch will be taking shots again decades before the drug dealer gets out......

RIP Young Lady. Jenny. Your cause is served as well by your death as your life and hopefully, maybe that will make it make some sense


Billy Breathes....this is beautifully written, and an amazing tribute. You captured her achievements as both an activist AND a person. That's what everyone loved about Jenny: she was the most genuine person you ever met.

In a community where we are always fighting for something: a cause, a law, a business, an ego.....Jenny was a beacon of positivity and she shared that light with everyone.

My favorite quote from the piece was from Jeremy, "She always said that if everyone would care about everybody else, you wouldn't have to worry about yourself, because someone would automatically be caring for you."

That's Jenny. And somewhere out there she is smiling. 

 Thank you.