The San Francisco Department of Public Health reported Monday that the candy that sickened 19 people at a Quinceañera in the Mission District on Saturday night is suspected to be edible marijuana. Lab tests of the gummy ring candies themselves have found THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. In addition, the lab work of 12 hospitalized patients was positive for THC.
“Anyone who attended the Quinceañera and may have taken home some of the gummy rings is urged to discard them immediately,” said Dr. Tomas Aragon, Health Officer for the City and County of San Francisco. “If they are sickened, they should report to the California Poison Control Center for advice. If they are feeling severely ill, they should call 911.”
The California Poison Control Center can be reached at 1-800-222-1222.
“This could have been a much worse situation than it was, and I’m glad that all the children that ingested the candy have recovered,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “This incident underscores concerns about edible marijuana and its availability to minors. Thank you to the first responders for responding as quickly as they did, and for the support of the Public Health Department and Police Department in their ongoing investigation.”
All of the 19 patients taken to hospitals Saturday night had been discharged by Monday morning. 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.
“This event is a strong warning about the dangers of edibles, which can be very potent and hard to control dosage in the best circumstances,” Aragon said. “A situation like this, where they were consumed by unsuspecting people, and many children, is greatly concerning.”
Of the patients that were evaluated, 10 were male and 9 were female. Thirteen of the patients were 18 or younger, ranging in age from 6 to 18. The patients were taken to several San Francisco hospitals, including Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, California Pacific Medical Center and St. Luke’s Campus.
The San Francisco office of the California Poison Control Center has been working closely with the hospitals treating these patients, collecting information on patient lab results. The Poison Control Center is working with the lab at Zuckerberg San Francisco General to test the suspect candies. The gummies were tested Monday morning and preliminary findings show them to contain THC. They are continuing to test them and final results should be known by the end of the week.
The Health Department has interviewed several people who attended the party to learn more about what happened. The party was catered by a company in Oakland, and the Alameda County Department of Public Health has been informed and will investigate. The San Francisco Police Department also is conducting an investigation.
“The question remains, where did the candies come from?” said Aragon.
The San Francisco Health Department is contacting the people invited to Saturday’s party to ensure they know to discard any uneaten candies they may have taken from the party.