Some people just can’t handle their high. Earlier this summer, 23-year-old Joseph D. Hudek IV learned that lesson the hard way, when a trip to the marijuana mile high club turned into a felony nightmare.
Earlier this summer, Hudek boarded a plane from Seattle to Beijing, took his seat in first class, had one beer as the flight was ascending, and then completely lost his shit. While the plane sped across the Pacific Ocean, Hudek got up from his seat and tried to open the cabin door (yes, the one to the outside). Once flight attendants noticed his intentions, and after Hudek was halfway towards his goal of depressurizing the cabin, crew members physically moved him away from the door, leading the irate man to punch one of the crew members twice and hit another man over the head with a wine bottle. Several passengers were needed to restrain Hudek while the plane returned to SEA-TAC airport, where law enforcement officers were waiting to arrest Hudek.
Now, months after the incident, Hudek is blaming his behavior on an cannabis-infused edible he ate before boarding the July 6th flight, and according to the Seattle Times, has been released by a federal judge into the custody of his mother in Florida. As part of the release agreement, though, Hudek has been banned from flying, and must take a bus or train to get back to his family in the Sunshine State. In addition to the flight ban, Hudek’s release does not allow him to consume marijuana or alcohol.
And while it can be assumed that someone who doesn’t have a Roman numeral following their last name might still be sitting in jail as they await trial, judge James Donohue, was clear that the release was not intended to downplay the seriousness of Hudek’s crimes.
“There is no doubt there was terror in the sky,” Donohue said during a hearing in federal court in Seattle, noting that one of the flight attendants “had the stuffing beaten out of him.”
Even after the release, Hudek’s charges still stand, and the young Floridian is still facing up to 10 years in federal prison for interfering with a flight crew member, and anywhere from 20 years to life for four counts of assault on an aircraft with a deadly weapon (the aforementioned wine bottle).
Hudek hasn’t stated anything further about the cannabis product he consumed other than the fact that it was edible, so we have no idea how much or what dosage he ate. However, it was obviously a little too much.
“Later, while on the airplane and after I had consumed the marijuana, I began to feel dramatically different,” Hudek said in the sworn document.
It’s pretty common knowledge that edibles cause different reactions in different people, and Hudek’s personal physician in Tampa was quick to submit a signed affidavit listing the known side effects of infused edibles as “paranoia, confusion, hallucinations and combativeness,” we’re having a hard time finding cannabis at fault for Hudek’s own decision to eat weed before boarding an 11 and a half hour transcontinental flight.
Similarly, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Hobbs, the man prosecuting the case against Hudek, is not convinced by Hudek’s defense. Hobbs told judge Donohue that it should not matter at all how much cannabis he consumed, or where it came from. Because the choice to consume it was his own decision, Hobbs argued, he “is responsible for the consequences of those actions … on a plane filled with hundreds of people.”
Hudek is scheduled to return to court on February 26th to finally face the stacked charges, but until then, let his story serve as an example for anyone who has ever claimed piling up on edibles is a good idea before passing through a TSA checkpoint.
Know your dosage and know your limit - or your first class nap could turn into a lifetime behind bars for assault with a wine bottle.