In a tragic irony demonstrating the very point she spent years trying to make, a Denver mom who advocated for marijuana as a safer alternative to alcohol was killed by a drunk driver in late August.
Jennifer Friede, 34, died in a collision on Interstate 25 early in the morning on Aug. 31, according to the Denver medical examiner’s office. She was the passenger in a car driven by her boyfriend, Jeremy DePinto, and they were hit head-on by a driver going the wrong way.
Who Was Jennifer Friede?
Friede spent much of her adult life as an activist well known in the pot community, arguing the drug is safer than alcohol. She was known in green circles as Jenny Kush, and she pushed for expanded access to marijuana.
“She was trying to end the oppression over it,” DePinto said. “We’d rally at the Capitol the last Saturday of every month for years, trying to tell people that cannabis is safer than alcohol. It’s ironic that it was an uninsured drunk driver that killed her.”
The Accident That Took Her Life
DePinto was driving home from a concert in a southbound high-occupancy vehicle lane on the freeway in Denver when he saw a car driven by Rebecca Maez, 27, coming toward him northbound, in the wrong direction.
“I saw her coming, and you get that little blur, for a second, of disbelief,” he said. “Once I realized it was happening, I looked to the left and right and realized we were trapped. I veered to the left, and she veered into me.”
Denver police arrested Maez after the crash on suspicion of DUI and vehicular homicide. This wasn’t Maez’s first booze-fueled traffic incident: In 2009 she was arrested for DUI, speeding in a construction zone and driving with a restrained license. She wasn’t seriously hurt in the collision.
Friede leaves her boyfriend and four young children, ages 6, 10, 12 and 16. DePinto was injured in the crash; he was released from the hospital a few days later.
Jenny Kush is fondly remembered in the marijuana advocacy community, which mourned her death as soon as it was announced. Some sites began raising money for her family, while others vowed to carry on the crusade to prove weed is safer than booze.
Among her many roles, Friede hosted a podcast, Sexpot Radio, in which she offered sex advice from a weed-oriented perspective.
Friede’s family, friends and supporters held a celebration of her life on Sept. 4.