In what looks like the first death that can be attributed to the Colorado recreational weed laws, a Wyoming college student visiting Denver jumped to his death after eating a marijuana cookie.
According to the Associated Press, 19-year-old Levy Thamba Pongi, a native of Republic of Congo, fell from a motel balcony on March 11. The autopsy listed marijuana intoxication as a “significant contributing factor”. Although the legal age to buy marijuana is 21, the cookie was purchased by someone of legal age who was traveling with Pongi.
Michelle Weiss-Samaras, a spokeswoman for the office medical examiners office, said this was the first marijuana they’ve marked a death as being related to marijuana.
“We have not had that,” she said.
According to Pongi’s friends, after he ate the cookie he began exhibiting hostile behavior, that included pulling things off the walls and speaking erratically. After assuming they were able to calm him down, Pongi went outside on the balcony and jumped from the railing, according to the report given to the investigators by the friends.
The friend who purchased the cookie, could face charges since adults can be charged with a felony for giving it to someone under the legal age.
Authorities said one of Pongi’s friends was old enough to buy the cookie from a pot shop. It was unclear whether the friend might face charges.
The marijuana concentration in Pongi’s blood was 7.2 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood. Colorado law says juries can assume someone is driving while impaired by marijuana if their blood contains more than 5 nanograms per milliliter of the chemical. No other drugs were found.
Officials at Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., say Pongi started taking classes as an exchange student in January. He was studying engineering.
“The Northwest College campus community continues to grieve after Levy’s death,” the college said in a statement. “All of us were deeply saddened by this tragic incident and feel for his family.”