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Pot brownies sickened L.A. preschool teachers, CDC says

A fellow instructor who brought the sweets in said she bought them from a street vendor. Two teachers later sought medical attention.

September 04, 2009|Rong-Gong Lin II

A group of preschool teachers in Los Angeles was sickened by marijuana this year after unknowingly eating pot brownies purchased by a fellow instructor, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The incident occurred April 7 at an unidentified preschool and was investigated by Los Angeles police, according to the CDC report.

The preschool teacher who brought in the brownies told investigators that she had purchased them two days earlier from a street vendor who claimed to be selling them as a church fundraiser. The pastor at the church the vendor named later said there was no such fundraiser. The unlabeled brownies cost $1.50 each, and each one was in plastic wrap. The teacher did not consume any, but her adult son ate two.

Five teachers ate one brownie each; a sixth teacher took a bite but promptly spit it out, "complaining of an unusual taste," the CDC report said. The brownies were left in a break room.

A short time later, the preschool director and the administrator observed one instructor becoming sleepy and dizzy and suffering shortness of breath, with tingling and numbness in her face, forehead and arms.

Suspicion immediately fell on the brownie.

It was the only food eaten by all six people who reported fatigue, stumbling and other symptoms. Two of the teachers later sought medical attention. One was a breast-feeding mother, who nursed her baby about an hour and a half after eating the first half of a brownie at 7:30 a.m.; the baby was not sickened.

A leftover brownie tested by the Los Angeles Police Department contained chemicals that come from marijuana. CDC officials said the incident was a reminder that marijuana can be a source of food-borne illnesses.

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ron.lin@latimes.com

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