A Congolese exchange student, Levi Thamba Pongi, jumped to his death after eating a legally purchased Marijuana cookie in Denver, Colorado while on Spring Break. Authorities say this incident is the first death since Marijuana was legalized in Colorado on January 1.
The 19-year-old's autopsy reports marijuana intoxication as a "significant contributing factor." According to investigators, after Pongi ate the cookie he began exhibiting "hostile behavior." Friends of the victim say he began speaking erratically and pulling things off the walls.
Friends also say they tried to calm him down, and it seemed to work, until the Wyoming college student went outside and jumped over the balcony railing. The death was ruled as an accident, but Denver police are still investigating.
Dismissing any belief that the Marijuana death may have just been related to personal mental instability, Michelle Weiss-Samaras, a spokeswoman for the Denver County medical examiner's office, told the Denver Post, "We have no history of any other issues until he eats a marijuana cookie and becomes erratic and this happens," she said. 'It's the one thing we have that's significant.
While Colorado bans the sale of Marijuana to anyone under the age of 21, Pongi's Marijuana cookie was purchased by a friend, according to the Daily Mail. Spokeswoman Weiss-Samaras was told that the students went to Colorado for Spring Break so they could legally purchase and consume Marijuana.
Authorities say Pongi's body was tested for at least 250 different substances, including synthetic marijuana and bath salts, substances known to bring out strange behavior. However,THC, the psychoactive ingredient in Marijuana, was the only chemical found in Pongi's blood. The autopsy report detailed that Pongi's blood was concentrated with 7.2 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood. Under Colorado law, juries can assume someone is driving while under the influence of marijuana if their blood has over 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.
Levi Thamba Pongi was studying engineering at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming before his death. In a statement to the Daily Mail, the college said, "All of us were deeply saddened by this tragic incident and feel for his family."