Marijuana edible contributed to Levy Thamba's fatal fall, coroner says

Categories: Marijuana, News

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More photos below.
In a highly unusual move, the Denver coroner's office has listed marijuana intoxication as a contributing factor in a death -- the fatal fall of college student Levy Thamba from a hotel balcony last month.

Thamba consumed a marijuana edible before he died.

A coroner's office spokeswoman says the facts of the case explain why the decision to include information about marijuana was made.

Thamba's Facebook page remains online and features numerous photos of him, including this one....

levy.thamba.facebook.2.jpg
...and this one:

levy.thamba.facebook.3.jpg
As noted last month by the Powell Tribune, a newspaper in Powell, Wyoming, Thamba, nineteen, was from the Republic of Congo. He began attending Powell-based Northwest College in January after submitting an essay to an international scholarship program. His academic focus was engineering and advanced mathematics.

The Tribune article notes that he quickly made friends at Northwest, and a couple of months later, he joined some of them on a spring-break trip to Denver.

Then, on March 11, tragedy struck. At the time, Thamba was at the Holiday Inn Denver East, at 3333 Quebec Street, a Stapleton area location captured in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."


View Larger Map

Thamba was on an upper floor and fell to his death from a balcony.

What happened? According to Denver Office of the Medical Examiner spokeswoman Michelle Weiss-Samaras, Thamba and at least one additional person consumed a marijuana cookie. Shortly thereafter, she says, "another kid got sick and [Thamba] had this happen."

After Thamba's death, toxicology revealed what a coroner's office release describes as "post-mortem chest cavity blood results (basic, synthetic cannabinoids and bath salts panels)." They showed a Delta-9 THC reading of 7.2 ng/mL and a Delta-9 Carboxy THC of 49 ng/mL.

In the end, the cause of death for Thamba (referred to in documents by his full name, Levi Thamba Pongi) was found to have been by "multiple injuries due to fall from height." However, the determination adds that the fall took place after the consumption of a marijuana cookie and lists "marijuana intoxication" as a "significant condition."

This conclusion makes sense in Weiss-Samaras's view because "that's all we had. He was fine, he was normal, he was an easy-going kid, and then he ate this cookie and went over the balcony. And this was not a kid who was suicidal."

Weiss-Samaras acknowledges that the determination of marijuana's role in Thamba's death was "a little unique." But she believes getting the information out is important, particularly for parents. "We don't know how this will affect you," she allows. "We all react differently."

Our sincere condolences to Thamba's friends, family and loved ones.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive circa November 2013: "Marijuana: How will testing of cannabis products and edibles work?"


My Voice Nation Help
264 comments
tannedleather
tannedleather

Synthetic marijuana and bath salts are not marijuana. Their effects are very unpredictable and the ingredients are not safe and are unregulated. 

labelbro
labelbro

Edible marijuana will kill the legalization movement.  Edibles are all about greed and marketing.  Every shithead in Colorado thinks he's the Weed Willy Wonka.

lizz72
lizz72

Maybe they were imitating "Reefer Madness". Damn you. You made him try.



lizz72
lizz72

OMG Did everyone miss the part about bath salts. I guess you just read the headline. If this is true, it would be epic. First marijuana death. Ever. Wait, I think a bail fell on someone. I bet this happens in all industries. Read the story before you make a judgment. SMH


gwhitejr
gwhitejr

Even if you take this at face value marijuana is still safer than the most of products on the market. Prohibition has clearly failed, it is available in every US city, the price continues to fall as quality increases and the govt has spent over a trillion dollars for nothing. The fact that all the associated deaths are reported only in the 1 place its legal is suspicious. Illegal unregulated weed has been around, 20+  million people use it, so I suppose illegal weed is safer than legal weed ...somehow? 

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt topcommenter

Completely SOBER person dies after falling from balcony:


American Airlines pilot, 62, falls to his death from 12th-floor hotel balcony while chaperoning his daughter's Spring Break trip 
  • Thomas Saunders, a father of three from Texas, was pronounced dead at Holiday Inn Resort in Panama City Beach, Florida 
  • Police say he fell 12 stories and landed on the lobby roof 
  • Hotel management said the fall was caused by a medical issue and neither alcohol nor drugs player a role in it
  • Saunders worked as commercial airline pilot for 36 years and raced autocross cars as a hobby 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2585527/American-Airlines-pilot-62-falls-death-12th-floor-hotel-balcony-chaperoning-daughters-Spring-Break-trip.html#ixzz31SChYIHW 
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

DoperJack
DoperJack

I see some generic American kids cajoling and urging and begging and bullying their peer to "just try some, its so cool, dope is the best" until he gives in and things go horribly awry.

Of course said kids are innocent, the dead kid was merely suicidal, just couldn't handle the good life, etc Whew. That was stressful. I need some dope right about now. 

tiznitz
tiznitz

Shouldn't death certificates be based on facts instead of conjecture?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

So that makes 3 (three) deaths attributed to marijuana use in Colorado in the last 2 years, including the Pot Mom who baked her two children alive in an overheated car.



wbbeav
wbbeav

Drugs makes one do stupid things. That's why it's called dope.

Chris Baird
Chris Baird

I wonder what agency paid for that statement......

Ty Sharp
Ty Sharp

Not the weed come on folks

ARider03
ARider03

@tannedleather This wasn't about either of those. This was products (edible) made with marijuana cooked in them and there was no bath salts. That was the name of the test they used.

ARider03
ARider03

@lizz72 Yeah, that's the name of the test performed. If you read the story you see the positive results were only for THC.

DVanVorous
DVanVorous

@kevin_hunt 

The operative word in the above article is "CONTRIBUTORY". Meaning it contributed to the gents demise. Your example is classic Disinformation as the pilots demise was in fact attributed to a medical condition (again contributory irrespective of sobriety.)

tannedleather
tannedleather

@DonkeyHotay If you were to actually read the facts the dead had ingested synthetic marijuana and bath salts too. So there goes your Reefer Madness hype. Nice try now go take all of your prescription pills and call your doc in the morning to ask for more that you seen advertised on TV.

kamikazemelon787
kamikazemelon787

@DonkeyHotay  And how many drunk driving deaths have there been in Colorado in the past two years? 177 people were killed in 2012 alone. I can't seem to find the number for 2013, it seems 2012 was the last year the statistics were compiled. And that's only drunk driving, let alone alcohol-influenced murder, assaults, robberies, etc. Please think about what you're saying. 3 people is an incredibly low number in two years, for anything. More people are killed by vending machines each year than that, in fact 13 people are killed each year because of them. By this standard, marijuana is one of the safest things you can consume. Safer than candy.

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt topcommenter

@wbbeav  What's your excuse for being stupid, asshole?

jondoenumber22000
jondoenumber22000

@wbbeavidk i kinda like the Sgt. Pepper album and all their other albums too. why do they call alcohol poison in the bars?  they say... pick/what's your poison.


i don't think anyone under 60 calls cannabis "dope" anymore though. i suspect  that the etymology of dope is derived from Dopamine.

 Charles Dickens was hopelessly addicted to opium.  Kurt Cobain to heroin.  Philip K. Dick to amphetamines.  Sigmund Freud to morphine.  Stephen King to cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil (he was a busy guy).  Winston Churchill to amphetamines.  Billie Holiday to heroin.  Paul Erdos (the most prolific mathematician in history) to amphetamines. Francis Crick, one of the original discoverers of the double helix DNA model which we know today was discovered while the scientist was high on LSD. Also my personal favorite Carl Sagan  (American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist) who was a known pothead.  The list goes on and on and includes our last 3 presidents.  I wouldn't exactly say these cornerstones of human culture, literature, science, politics, and mathematics were unable to function productively in day to day life.


“Reality is a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs”
Lily Tomlin

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that in the U.S. alone, an estimated 79,000 lives are lost annually due to "excessive" drinking. The study estimates that the overall cost of excessive drinking by Americans is $223.5 billion each year.


http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(11)00538-1/abstract

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@kamikazemelon787 ... however many DUI deaths there were does NOT REDUCE the deaths, injury and harm caused by marijuana.


Why do stoner douchebags always want to change the subject to alcohol when the issue is the HARM done by marijuana?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@jondoenumber22000 @wbbeav  ... Imagine how much more those people would have achieved if they hadn't been Dope Addicts.


PS -- you do realize that no matter how much pot you smoke, you'll never be Carl Sagan ...



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@malcolmkyle16  ... typical stoner, always wants to change the subject to alcohol when marijuana is the topic under discussion.

pdxphotoguy84
pdxphotoguy84

@DonkeyHotay The issue, douchebag, is that if we're gonna ban marijuana for causing 3 deaths in 2 years, we should also ban booze for causing 177+ deaths in just 1 year. Alcohol is clearly a worse drug than pot, but we pretty much pitched a fit when we tried banning the stuff in the 1920's. Yet 3 deaths is enough to call for re-banning pot? Please.

Personally, I say let people have their vices. There are always idiots who go crazy and kill their wives or fall from balconies on drugs or alcohol, but people do that sober, too.

pdxphotoguy84
pdxphotoguy84

@DonkeyHotay Chances are if they weren't addicts, they'd never have been famous and you wouldn't know who they are today.

gwhitejr
gwhitejr

@DonkeyHotay @kevin_hunt  just like civil rights?? it takes a while to wrestle freedom away from the oligarchs and their apologists, like ypu.

gwhitejr
gwhitejr

@DoperJack @cprior1995 @DonkeyHotay  the fervor with which prohibitionists defend their failed policies and attempt to control the behaviors and bodies of consenting adults reveals their sociopathic control issues and inability to accept data based solutions

gwhitejr
gwhitejr

@DonkeyHotay @gwhitejr @jondoenumber22000 @wbbeav  " Imagine how much more those people would have achieved if they hadn't been Dope Addicts."  you dont use drugs so why havent you achieved more than those people so hindered (in you view) by drugs??

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@kevin_hunt "Over half of Americans want pot to be legalized"


Yet it isn't actually LEGAL anywhere, including Colorado.


How politically incompetent are Bong-sucking Stoners that even with more than 50% of voters in favor of legalization that they can't even write and pass an actual legalization amendment?


Epic Fail!

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt topcommenter

@DoperJack @cprior1995 "sitting in faraway caves, mocking and cursing the enemy"?


Legalization proponents are not 'sitting in faraway caves', douchebag.  Have you ever seen the liars at the DEA torn apart by Representatives Polis and Cohen?  It's a treat to watch the lying prohibitionists get their asses handed to them.


You lost the fight in Colorado and you will eventually lose the fight to keep marijuana illegal at the federal level.


Your drug war is crumbling, dickbag.  It's a joy to watch the states legalize one by one...and all you can do is whine about it.



"Over half of Americans want pot to be legalized, and a panicky Drug Enforcement Administration is ramping up its lies and surliness. Here's a testy exchange between DEA deputy administrator Thomas M. Harrigan and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) on marijuana legalization.

...Harrigan said that "every single parent out there" opposed marijuana legalization.

"Your statement that all parents are against this is ludicrous," said Cohen. "What do you think, that people who are in favor of decriminalization or changing policy don't procreate?"


http://boingboing.net/2014/03/05/dea-deputy-director-every-s.html



DoperJack
DoperJack

@cprior1995 @DonkeyHotay  the fervor with which dopers protect and defend their habit on some Websites and in person does indeed indicate they are addicted to it - sounding like certain jihadis sitting in faraway caves, mocking and cursing the enemy, calling for a holy war to silence the infidel forever so that peace and love can endure.

Theres physical addiction and psychological addiction, and whatnot, but its still not harmless

jondoenumber22000
jondoenumber22000

@DonkeyHotay @jondoenumber22000

no need to imagine the difference drugs would make just look at the Beatles music before drugs and after drugs.

sure, i want to hold your hand is great and all but drugs clearly had a positive influence on the Beatles music. most all of the great musicians of the last hundred years or so credit drugs for their inspiration. after women and money, drugs are probably the most sang about topic in music. 

 me thinks you should boycott all music and poetry etc that was influenced by drugs. what a miserable world that would be, but that's what you would call heaven.

cprior1995
cprior1995

@DonkeyHotay I'm sorry, but saying they are addicts is a bit over the top. Yes, there is people who abuse cannabis along with other people who abuse alcohol, cocaine ect. It's all about self control with any drug. I'd much abuse cannabis then abuse alcohol or any other drug. It clouds your judgement and affects your co-ordination among other things, however the article fails to say how much of the bath salts was in his system. For example, stimulant psychosis can occur when you take too much of a stimulant. I'm not saying that the cannabis didn't contribute to this unfortunate event - because it probably did INDIRECTLY.. (He might've found it hard to stand properly, leaning against the balcony and accidentally losing balance).

DonkeyHotay, you seem totally against the legalization of cannabis which is fair enough. However, if this was alcohol I would have a funny feeling you wouldn't post on the article talking about alcohol addicts and how much they would've achieved if they didn't drink alcohol.

Maybe you should read about Pharmacology a little bit more? Just a suggestion.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@gwhitejr @DonkeyHotay @kamikazemelon787  


Nonsense -- since the harms are CUMULATIVE to society.


Does society need or want MORE harm via more vices, regardless of what other vices may already be allowed?


So unless you're advocating for the prohibition of another already legal vice, adding another to the mix does NOT IMPROVE society.





gwhitejr
gwhitejr

@DonkeyHotay @kamikazemelon787  if you are going to advocate the prohibition of something based on its harm then its sensible to discuss the relative harm it does compared to other, similarly used substances as a standard. i

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@kamikazemelon787  ... so MILLIONS of Marijuana users purchase their pot from "violent criminals" ??


You sound like an ignorant government shill spewing DEA propaganda.



@kamikazemelon787 "If we eliminated the need for "pot dealers" who were instantly considered criminal completely, there would no longer be a black market surrounding it."


What are you, are 12 year old retard?


The "black markets" for regulated Tobacco and Alcohol in the U$A are BILLIONS of $$ per year!

... that's right, BILLIONS of $$ ... EACH!


Grow a brain and stop stammering about things you have ZERO experience with or knowledge of.


kamikazemelon787
kamikazemelon787

@DonkeyHotay @kamikazemelon787  

No. I told you. I don't smoke marijuana. You are the one who needs to work on reading comprehension.
Ever hear of the cartels, you know, those guys who behead a bunch of people and are basically taking over entire cities in Mexico? Marijuana is a massive part of their illicit business. Take that away from them and it deals a major blow to them, larger than any DEA operation could. Not to mention the massive influx of tax revenue that would otherwise be going unnoticed by the government.That is the point I'm trying to make.

You are making things so black and white, when in reality it is one big shade of grey. Not all pot dealers are violent, but some can be, especially on the larger scale. If we eliminated the need for "pot dealers" who were instantly considered criminal completely, there would no longer be a black market surrounding it. It would be out in the open, for the government to watch, regulate, and make sure that no one is being shot over an ounce of plant matter. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@kamikazemelon787  "Because, not allowing it allows for a criminal element to provide it where there is demand. "


So the friends and acquaintances you've always scored your dope from are the evil "criminal element"?


@kamikazemelon787 "Violence stems from crime."


So the people you've always scored your pot from are violent?



kamikazemelon787
kamikazemelon787

@DonkeyHotay @kamikazemelon787  

Because, not allowing it allows for a criminal element to provide it where there is demand. There will always be demand. Murder is illegal, yet it still happens every single goddamn day. Laws will not stop people from acquiring substances they want to take, they only empower the rackets that provide those substances and profit from it. Violence stems from crime. If you make it not a crime, the criminals dependent on the illicit income from selling it will be dispersed. The violence will subside, and users will be guaranteed a better, safer, regulated product. The reason the roaring 20's were a bloodbath was because of the criminal element that sprung up to provide alcohol after Prohibition. It is the same case here, yet has been going on for much longer. This is worth the comparatively tiny harm to users. Are you this short sighted?

kamikazemelon787
kamikazemelon787

@DonkeyHotay @kamikazemelon787  
Yes, smoking marijuana can be harmful. You are inhaling burning plant material. I have never disputed that. Why are you trying to hard to make it seem like I think weed is a harmless gift from God? It's not. It's an intoxicant. My point is that it's one of the least harmful intoxicants a person can consume, by the numbers. My problem is with your reaction and vehement volatility towards anyone who dares claim it isn't a soul-sucking baby killing plague on American society. It clearly isn't.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@kamikazemelon787  "Can't you see that the prohibition of it is absolute stupidity when much more harmful things are used every single day and society is totally fine with it? "


So how does allowing more things that are harmful to the already existing harmful things make society a better place?



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@kamikazemelon787 "The harm caused by the illegality of marijuana far outstrips the harm caused by the use of it"


Typical stoner, no comprehension of basic English.

kamikazemelon787
kamikazemelon787

@DonkeyHotay @kamikazemelon787  

If you go and re-read my comments, I never said it wasn't harmful, just that it was one of the least harmful things in existence. Can't you see that the prohibition of it is absolute stupidity when much more harmful things are used every single day and society is totally fine with it? Ask yourself that question.

kamikazemelon787
kamikazemelon787

@DonkeyHotay @kamikazemelon787 
My question is, what harm? 3 people in two years, yes it's tragic, but hardly a statistic worth noting. The harm caused by the illegality of marijuana far outstrips the harm caused by the use of it. 

kamikazemelon787
kamikazemelon787

@DonkeyHotay @kamikazemelon787  

Two of those listed are legal. You put alcohol on the same level as cocaine, yet you don't seem to be calling for its prohibition. That is the problem I have with your argument. You can't dodge the facts like that. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@kamikazemelon787  


The subject isn't ALCOHOL, it's MARIJUANA.


Pointing out to other societal harms doesn't make marijuana harmless. 


Whatever harm marijuana brings to society is IN ADDITION TO alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, etc.



kamikazemelon787
kamikazemelon787

@DonkeyHotay @kamikazemelon787 @DoperJack @malcolmkyle16  

Because alcohol has been legal for nearly the entire country's history, while marijuana has not, despite them both being (arguably, in MJ's case, and UNDENIABLY in alcohol's case) dangerous intoxicants. In fact, marijuana is the most popular intoxicant in the US, next to alcohol. This alone should tell you the difference between the two in terms of danger to their users. People like you attach unwarranted stigma to the drug, while waving away massive, MASSIVE death toll numbers caused by legal drugs every single year. Why are you so adamant about marijuana being bad? How do we measure how bad a substance is? Do you want to talk about prescription medication? Cigarettes? Hell, fatty foods? These are all, by the numbers, multiple times "worse" than marijuana and you seem to be totally fine accepting them. How about you give me a reason for alcohol being legal, despite being proven to be deadly year after year, while marijuana should not instead of just waving away the argument like it's not relevant, and not responding to the point it makes? What is wrong with your logic? I'm done with you. 

kamikazemelon787
kamikazemelon787

@DoperJack @DonkeyHotay @malcolmkyle16  

It's a valid point. Alcohol is a major cause of the death around the world. Why is it exempt from the same criticism you are applying to marijuana? I don't even smoke weed, I just don't like seeing people with obvious bias not considering every intoxicant equally. 

undyingpoetictruth
undyingpoetictruth

You're almost as good as CPS with the way you snaketongue your language in a bout of presenting empirical observed actions or deeds.

House Cannabis gets 4 points.

House Prohibitionist loses 10 points because of reasons.

undyingpoetictruth
undyingpoetictruth

You're almost as good as CPS with the way you snaketongue your language in a bout of presenting empirical observed actions or deeds.

House Cannabis gets 4 points.

House Prohibitionist loses 10 points because of reasons

undyingpoetictruth
undyingpoetictruth

You're almost as good as CPS with the way you snaketongue your language in a bout of presenting empirical observed actions or deeds.

House Cannabis gets 4 points.

House Prohibitionist loses 10 points because of reasons.

tannedleather
tannedleather

@DonkeyHotay @kamikazemelon787 Since those that died had also consumed synthetic marijuana and bath salts which both have been proven to be dangerous and in some cases deadly I will not be persuaded to put the blame on real Marijuana.

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