When Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use, we all knew that it would result in the deaths of more people. I expected the first reported fatality to be the result of a motor vehicle accident, and perhaps it was, but I haven’t heard of any deaths directly related to legalized pot until now.
Levy Thamba was a 19 year old exchange student from the Republic of Congo. He was attending Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming. During spring break, he traveled to Denver, Colorado with three of his friends. One member of the group was 21 and had legally purchased marijuana laced cookies. Supposedly, none of them had ever tried marijuana before. Shortly after eating his cookie, Thamba became ‘agitated and upset’ and then ran out of the hotel room onto and over the balcony falling four stories to his death. Another member of the group got sick after taking a bite of one of the pot laced cookies.
Michelle Weiss-Damaras, Chief Deputy Coroner for Denver, reported:
“The kids took this cookie, one of them took a bite and then got kind of sick. The other two obviously didn’t have a problem and then this one became very agitated and upset and didn’t do well.”
Advocates for the legalization of marijuana claim that partaking of the weed in any form is as harmless as alcohol. Alcohol is responsible for thousands of automobile deaths and injuries along with thousands of cases of alcohol poisoning, psoriasis of the liver, heart attacks and other major health issues. Alcohol has led to thousands of broken homes and domestic abuse, stabbings, beatings and murders.
So why would anyone want to emulate all of that?
What galls me is that opponents have presented all of the negative effects of alcohol and marijuana to state and federal legislators and yet we see more and more of them voting to legalize marijuana for recreational use. I see their actions as being irresponsible and an indication that they care more about appeasing a fringe minority than protecting the safety of the public.
I wonder if the legislators that voted to legalize the pot would be do the same thing if they knew that they could be held liable for the results of their votes? Could the family of Thamba file legal action against the Colorado legislators who voted in favor of recreational marijuana? Had they not voted yes, then the pot laced cookies would not have been available for purchase and Thamba would still be alive.
Yes, he and his friends made a conscious decision to purchase and eat the cookies, but they would not have been able to make that same decision if Colorado cared more about the safety of the people over the money they get from lobbyists. Someone in Colorado needs to keep a display board up in the state capital with pictures of all of the people who lose their lives because of the legalized pot law, so that the legislators would have to look at their faces every day.
The saddest part of all of this is that Levy Thamba will not be the last person to die as a result of the legalized pot. Many more will make a similar mistake and pay for it with their lives or the lives of innocent victims that they harm.