THC-laced candy sickened 19 at quinceanera in San Francisco, officials say

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO -- Marijuana-laced gummy ring candies sent 19 people to the hospital Saturday night who had been celebrating at a quinceanera, according to health officials.

How the THC-laced candy ended up at the event was unknown at this time, health officials stated.

The family used a catering company and health officials confirmed there was no evidence of cannabis at the company's location during an inspection on Monday.

The youngest patient who experienced symptoms was just 6 years old.

"Rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, dilated pupils, dizziness, light headedness, nausea, lethargy and confusion," San Francisco Department of Public Health's Tomas Aragon described.

Health officials said the candies tested positive for THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Raul Hernandez, a security guard at the Women's Building in the Mission District where the party was held, was the one who called 911.

"These are innocent kids. They don't know, they see a candy, they eat it," Women's Building security guard Raul Hernandez said.

Of the 19 patients treated, blood tests from 12 came back positive for THC.

"It's different than when you smoke marijuana. The onset can be slower, the duration can be longer," California Poison Control's Dr. Craig Smollin explained. "As edible marijuana becomes more available, it's very important we control how these edible products are available to the public."

"We want to make sure from this perspective this wasn't an intentional act by the caterer or anyone who attended the party," San Francisco Police Officer Grace Gatpandan said.

In a statement, the Alameda County Health Department said, "There is no way to determine if cannabis was used at all on the premises as no evidence was found during EH's inspection today. Issues related to where the candy came from, who purchased it, and who provided it among the edibles are a part of that investigation."