A student from a Wyoming college while in Denver, Colo., for spring break dove off a balcony to his death after ingesting a marijuana-laced cookie one of his friends bought at one of the new Colorado pot shops, according to media reports on Wednesday.
According to Det. Renaldo Santiago, one of the investigators, a medical examiner's final autopsy report indicated that marijuana was a major in the death of Levy Thamba, a/k/a Levy Thamba Pongi, a Republic of Congo national who jumped from a balcony at the motel where he and his friends were partying.
The Pongi case marks the first time the city's pathologist listed the eating of marijuana as a contributing factor in a death, according to the Associated Press.
Det. Santiago said that investigators believe the 19-year-old and his fellow students traveled from Wyoming to Colorado specifically to try the recently legalized marijuana. Colorado has had several problems since pot legalization including adults using food stamp EBT cards to purchase weed, according to a March 2 Examiner news story.
Police officers said that Pongi's companions told detectives that he had eaten the cookie and minutes later became agitated, hostile and began to vandalize their motel room, according to reports.
Three of Pongi's friends, who also ingested the pot-laced cookies, claimed they appeared to successfully calm down Pongi, but then he went outside onto the motel balcony, jumped over the railing and fell to his death, according to the report.
Pongi's death was ruled an accident, but detectives claim the case is still listed as open since Colorado's marijuana legalization law prohibits the sale of the drug to anyone under 21-years-old, and anyone under 21-years-old in possession of marijuana can be arrested.
Adults who provide marijuana to an under-aged person can also be arrested and prosecuted with a felony, according to the Colorado law.
While it was reported that one of Pongi’s friends was 21-years-old, and bought the cookie from a pot shop, it is still not clear if he will be arrested and charged for violating the new law as it was written.
While the forensic pathologist tested Pongi’s remains for numerous substances such as " bath salts" and hallucinogenic drugs, his blood tested positive only for THC, the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana, according to the report.