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Student falls to his death after eating marijuana cookie

Sadie Gurman Associated Press

DENVER – A Wyoming college student visiting Denver on spring break jumped to his death after eating a marijuana cookie that his friend legally purchased in one of Colorado’s recreational pot shops, authorities said Wednesday.

An autopsy report lists marijuana intoxication as a “significant contributing factor” in the death of 19-year-old Levy Thamba Pongi, a native of the Republic of Congo who fell from a motel balcony on March 11.

It marked the first time the Denver medical examiner’s office has listed a marijuana edible as a contributor to a death, said Michelle Weiss-Samaras, a spokeswoman for the office.

The friends told investigators that Pongi ate the cookie and “exhibited hostile behavior” that included pulling things off walls and speaking erratically, the autopsy report said.

Denver police ruled the death an accident but said their investigation remains open.

The medical examiner’s office had Pongi’s body tested for at least 250 different substances, including bath salts and synthetic marijuana, which are known to cause strange behavior. His blood tested positive only for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, according to the report.

The marijuana concentration in Pongi’s blood was 7.2 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood. Colorado law says juries can assume someone is driving while impaired by marijuana if their blood contains more than 5 nanograms per milliliter of the chemical.

Officials at Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., say Pongi started taking classes as an exchange student in January. He was studying engineering.

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