Cops probing pot-infused candy distributed at

At least one child ingested cannabis-infused fruit chews that were found among candy from an Alameda elementary school event over the weekend, district officials said in an emergency alert to families Monday afternoon.

Three other families reported finding the fruit chews among the chocolates and other items from the PTA-sponsored event on Sunday at Amelia Earhart Elementary, located on Bay Farm Island.

The items were wrapped in blue paper and identified as Kiva Lost Farm cannabis-infused fruit chews. They look similar to Starburst candies.

“Please know that we are working quickly to determine the source of this candy and if other children received it,” said Earhart Principal Bryan Dunn-Ruiz in the letter to families. “If you have any information on these fruit chews or if you also find cannabis candy in your student’s collection, please contact us immediately.”

Kids in Windsor (Sonoma County) participate in a Halloween Trick-Or-Treat Trail event on Oct. 31, 2020. The number of children accidentally ingesting cannabis has been rising across the country.

Jessica Christian/The Chronicle 2020

The child who ingested the THC-infused candy became ill and the family sought “immediate medical attention,” police said in a statement.

As of midday on Monday, there had been no additional reported incidents of anyone ingesting the THC-laden chews.

“Many THC-infused candies can closely resemble popular name-brand sweets commonly distributed during trick-or-treat events,” wrote the Alameda Police Department in an advisory distributed to families. “This incident highlights a concern regarding the safety of our community during holiday celebrations such as Halloween.”

Alameda Police Chief Nishant Joshi told the Chronicle it was too early in the investigation to have any information, although there were several leads to follow. It was still unclear whether the presence of the THC candies was intentional or an accident, he added.

He said that other parts of the country have experienced similar incidents, although this was a first for Alameda.

“You hear about these things. Of course I comb through my children’s treats from trick-or-treating,” Joshi said. “I’m very much bothered as a professional and a parent myself.”

The Lost Farm candies appeared to be the blueberry Dream Chews, which have 10 mg of THC per candy, cost $2 each and come in a pack of 10.

Police officials noted that many forms of cannabis edibles come in packages that look like well-known products, including Reese’s, Sour Path Kids, Jolly Rancher Gummies and Doritos.

Alameda Unified School District officials notified police early Monday morning and advised Earhart families to throw out all candy collected at the event. They also sent a letter to all district families as a precaution, said district spokesperson Susan Davis.

“It’s very worrisome,” Davis said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to keep the kids safe while we investigate what happened.”

Edible marijuana, in candy, cookie or other forms can contain several times the recommended adult dosage and anyone — especially a child — eating an entire THC edible can experience overdose symptoms, which include altered perception, anxiety, panic, slurred speech, dizziness, breathing interruptions and heart problems, among other issues, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Recent studies show a dramatic rise in the number of children accidentally consuming cannabis across the country, with 3,045 incidents in 2021, up from 207 in 2017, with nearly a quarter requiring hospitalization, according to the a 2023 study in the journal Pediatrics.

The Alameda Police Department confirmed the ongoing investigation and said officials will update the community when more information becomes available.

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