SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Gummy candies that sickened 19 people at a quinceañera party in San Francisco on Saturday contained marijuana, San Francisco Department of Public Health officials said Monday.
Health department officials said the candy came back positive for THC — the active substance in marijuana — as did 12 of the hospitalized patients.
The incident highlights the potential dangers of edible marijuana products, which can be very potent and difficult to control the dosage, according to Dr. Tomas Aragon, San Francisco’s health officer.
“A situation like this, where they were consumed by unsuspecting people, and many children, is greatly concerning,” Aragon said in a statement.
A total of 19 people, 10 male and nine female, were hospitalized as a result of the incident. Thirteen of those patients were 18 or younger, ranging in age from 6 to 18, and fire officials said Sunday that three minors including a 9-year-old boy were treated in intensive care units.
All of the patients had been discharged by Monday morning, health officials said. They suffered from symptoms consistent with the effects of edible cannabis including rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, dilated pupils, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, lethargy and confusion.
Marijuana edibles similar to the gummy candies have been banned from Colorado dispensaries because they appeal to kids.
The patients became sick after attending a quinceañera party at the Women’s Building at 3543 18th St. in the Mission District on Saturday. The fire department responded to reports of people getting sick at the party at 10:22 p.m.
Investigators are now working to determine where the candies came from, and have interviewed several people who attended the party to learn more about what happened.
Raul Hernandez was working security Saturday night. He believes the candy went out in favor bags.
“These are innocent kids. They see a candy, they eat it,” said Hernandez.
He called 911 when several guests started sweating, vomiting and having trouble breathing.
“I had 21 year old who was gasping for air she could not speak,” said Hernandez.
The party was catered by a company based in Oakland, and the Alameda County Department of Public Health is also investigating.
Event coordinator Olivia Herrera said the family is shocked over how marijuana edibles ended up inside.
“There was a lot of planning that went into event and I think right now they are trying to process everything that happened and sort of the severity of it,” said Herrera.
Investigators have not yet released the name of the Oakland catering company involved with the case.
The health department is also contacting those who attended the party to tell them to discard any uneaten candies they may have taken from there. Anyone who gets sick as a result of eating one should call the California Poison Control Center for advice at (800) 222-1222, or 911 if they are severely ill.
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