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Tuesday, July 28

Death by Marijuana Cookie: CDC report on Levy Thamba's death is damning

Marijuana legalization advocates have been skating by on the public's ignorance about the potency of modern strains of marijuana. Taken together, the coroners and police reports on the death of Levy Thamba in 2014 have exposed the seriousness of the drug's effects and the CDC has taken up the cudgel:

DC Cites Teen’s Death as Evidence of Dangers of Edible Pot
By Lisa Rein
The Washington Post via Valley News
Tuesday, July 28, 2015  

Washington — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing chilling new details about a 19-year-old college student who leaped four stories to his death at a Holiday Inn in Denver after eating a pot cookie.

The case is Exhibit A in a stern warning about the dangers of edible pot that calls for clearer labels, better education and dosage guidelines that advocate limited portion sizes.

“Although the decedent in this case was advised against eating multiple servings at one time,” researchers wrote of Levy Thamba, an exchange student from the Republic of Congo on spring break with his friends in Denver in March 2014, “he reportedly consumed all five of the remaining servings of the THC-infused cookie within 30-60 minutes after the first serving.” 

Thamba was “marijuana-naive, with no known history of alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, or mental illness,” the CDC said.

The warnings could further fuel the debate about legal marijuana use in the four states and the District of Columbia that now allow anyone over 21 to legally purchase the drug, including in sweet products, such as cookies, brownies and candy. Colorado, along with Washington, were the first states to legalize marijuana use.

Denver coroners listed “marijuana intoxication” from cannabis-infused [cookie] as a significant condition contributing to Thamba’s death, which was classified as an accident.

The CDC gives us more detail: A police report indicated that at first he ate only a single piece of his cookie, as directed by the sales clerk. But “approximately 30-60 minutes later, not feeling any effects, he consumed the remainder of the cookie. During the next 2 hours, he reportedly exhibited erratic speech and hostile behaviors. 

Approximately 3.5 hours after initial ingestion, and 2.5 hours after consuming the remainder of the cookie, he jumped off a fourth floor balcony and died from trauma,” the police report said.

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