Police: Student ate more pot than recommended
DENVER (AP) — A Congolese exchange student who jumped to his death from a Colorado hotel balcony ate more than the recommended serving of a marijuana cookie, police reports show.
Levy Thamba Pongi, 19, consumed a little more than one cookie after his friend legally purchased four of the pot edibles at a shop in downtown Denver — even though a store clerk told her to cut one cookie into six pieces and eat just one piece at a time, according to the reports obtained Thursday.
Back at their hotel, the group of four friends followed the instructions, but when Pongi felt nothing after about 30 minutes, he ate an entire cookie, police said.
Pongi started acting strangely 15 to 30 minutes later, speaking erratically in French, shaking, screaming and throwing things around the hotel room.
″‘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.’”
Pongi’s friends tried to restrain him before he left the room and jumped over a fourth floor railing into the hotel lobby, police said.
Colorado law bans the sale of recreational marijuana products to people under 21. Pongi’s 23-year-old friend told police she bought the cookies while Pongi waited outside the store.
It’s also illegal for people under 21 to possess marijuana, and adults can be charged with a felony for giving it to someone under the legal age.
However, authorities said in the report that they would not pursue charges against Pongi’s friend. Denver district attorney’s spokeswoman Maro Casparian said investigators determined there was no crime. She declined to elaborate.
An autopsy report from the March 11 incident lists marijuana intoxication as a “significant contributing factor” in the death.
Pongi, a native of the Republic of Congo, was taking engineering classes as an exchange student at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, according to officials at the school.
Authorities have said the friends, all students at Northwest College, traveled to Denver on spring break specifically to sample marijuana. Three of the students told investigators they did not purchase or take any other drugs during their stay.
In the days that followed, Denver police confiscated the remaining cookies from the pot shop to test the levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Colorado marijuana regulations set a 10 mg serving size for edibles. The wrapper of the cookies bought by the students said each contained 65 mg of THC for 6 1/2 servings. Tests showed the cookies were within the required limits, police said.
The wrappers also cautioned that “this marijuana product has not been tested for contaminants or potency.” One of Pongi’s friends became sick to his stomach after eating part of the cookie, but the others felt no negative effect.