Society

College Student Levy Thamba Pongi Jumps Off Balcony After Eating Pot Cookie

| by Allison Geller

A college student from Wyoming jumped off a fourth-floor hotel balcony to his death in a fit of paranoia after eating a pot-laced cookie.

19-year-old Levy Thamba Pongi ate a little more than an entire lemon poppy seed pot cookie, which his girlfriend had bought legally at a marijuana store in downtown Denver, the Associated Press reports. The clerk told her to cut each cookie into sixth and eat it piece by piece, but Thamba Pongi consumed the whole thing when he said he didn’t feel anything after 30 minutes.

Thamba Pongi was with his girlfriend and two other friends in a Holiday Inn hotel room.

15 to 30 minutes later he began to act strangely, shaking, screaming, throwing things, and speaking erratically in French.

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"'This is a sign from God that this has happened, that I can't control myself,'" he told his friends, according to the reports. "'It's not because of the weed.'"

Thamba Pongi broke free of his friends, who tried to restrain him, and jumped off the balcony four floors to the lobby below.

"Marijuana intoxication is a significant contributing factor" in the man’s death, the autopsy report states.

The group of friends had traveled from Northwest College in Powell, Wyo. over spring break specifically to enjoy marijuana. They took no other drugs during their trip, they said.

Denver police confiscated the other cookies from the pot shop and tested them for THC. They found that the levels of the psychoactive ingredient were within the state’s required limits, according to the serving size listed on the wrapper. The wrapper also contained a warning: "this marijuana product has not been tested for contaminants or potency.”

One of the victim's friends got sick to his stomach after eating his share, while another felt no negative effects.

“This is a very atypical reaction to marijuana,” said Dr. Scott Bentz, medical director of the emergency department at Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center, told ABC7. “Marijuana typically, whether it’s inhaled or eaten, does not typically affect impulse control in this way.”

Thamba Pongi, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, didn’t have any mental health issues or aggressive tendencies, those close to him say.

The police will not be pressing charges against 23-year-old Bessie Gondwe, Thamba Pongi’s girlfriend, who was the only one of legal age to purchase the pot cookie, according to the Denver Post.

Sources: Associated Press, ABC7, Denver Post