*This story is both heartbreaking and troubling. Heartbreaking because it tells the story of 19-year-old Levy Thamba, an exchange student at Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., who was visiting Colorado for spring break, when he tried marijuana cookies for the first time, started behaving erratically, and then jumped to his death.
Troubling because now an actual fatality has now been linked to marijuana and can be used as a tool against the legalized sale of it.
Thamba, had just eaten the pot-laced treats with friends last month when he became “very agitated and upset” and ran off a fourth floor hotel balcony, according to the Denver Coroner’s Office.
Thamba was with three friends, who claim it was the first time any of them had tried marijuana, saying that one of them, aged 21, had purchased the cookies from a legal supplier.
“The kids took this cookie, one of them took a bite and then got kind of sick,” Chief Deputy Coroner Michelle Weiss-Samaras told the Daily News. ” The other two obviously didn’t have a problem and then this one became very agitated and upset and didn’t do well.”
“He got up and just started running and hits the railing,” Weiss-Samaras described the autopsy report’s findings. “I’m not really sure that he knew what was going on … the kids were pretty traumatized.”
According to the Denver Post, Thamba died last month at a Holiday Inn in northeast Denver. On Wednesday, the Denver coroner released a report concluding that Thamba’s death was caused by “multiple injuries due to a fall from height.”
On March 11, the report says Thamba had consumed “marijuana cookies” and “soon thereafter exhibited hostile behavior (pulling items off the walls) and spoke erratically.”
“The decedent’s friends attempted to calm him down and were temporarily successful,” the report states.
“However, the decedent eventually reportedly jumped out of bed, went outside the hotel room, and jumped over the balcony railing.”
The teen’s autopsy, which classifies the death as accidental, found 7.2 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood. The state law in impaired driving cases sets a standard of 5 nanograms per milliliter, the Denver Post reported.
Negative results were returned for other drugs or alcohol and the teen didn’t have any known physical or mental-health issues, according to Weiss-Samaras.
The official cause of death for Thamba, who’s originally from the Republic of Congo, includes “marijuana intoxication.”
“It’s very sad. Obviously nobody knows how your body’s going to act,” Weiss-Samaras said of someone trying marijuana for the first time.
Because the Denver Coroner’s Office oversees 64 counties, Weiss-Samaras couldn’t say for sure that Thamba’s death was the first related to marijuana consumption. But to her knowledge, his death is believed to be the first.
Thanks to the Daily News, where this article originated.