School bake sales are taking on new meaning.
In recent weeks, students in Sacramento and across the country have become ill from eating marijuana-laced brownies they got at school. Here's the tally from a recent eight-day period:
Feb. 10: Two students at Monterey Trail High School in Elk Grove were taken by ambulance to a hospital after eating pot-enhanced brownies. The next day, a 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of possessing and furnishing marijuana.
Feb. 10: Michael Flores, 18, was arrested at Franklin High in Elk Grove on suspicion of selling marijuana-laced brownies the day after a student came to that school's office complaining of illness.
Feb. 9: A junior went to Sacramento's Florin High School office and told staff she had gotten sick after eating a brownie that contained marijuana. The girl was examined by emergency personnel and sent home.
Feb. 9: Six students in Evanston, Ill., were hospitalized after eating brownies laced with marijuana, according to a school website.
Feb. 2: The principal of Albany Middle School in the Bay Area sent an e-mail to parents saying that at least three kids in a two-week period had gotten sick from eating pot brownies.
Is it a trend or just a random cluster? Officials aren't certain.
Part of the difficulty is that pot-laced brownies are not reported as a separate crime category. Those caught selling the baked goods are arrested under the same penal code as those selling baggies of drugs.
And students who get sick from the brownies don't always report it or ask for help.
According to Sacramento County Sheriff's spokesman Jason Ramos, the popularity of the brownies makes them a profitable commodity in a down economy.
"More and more parents are unable to buy their children those designer clothes, more expensive (athletic) shoes and such," Ramos said. "Since marijuana is so popular, more and more youths are selling it to make money and provide themselves what their parents cannot."
Roger Morgan, director of Coalition for a Drug Free California, said 18-year-old students can obtain a physician's prescription for medical pot for $40 and buy not just smokable pot but brownies, too.
Officials say pot-laced brownies present risks that unsuspecting students might not realize. Unaware of the potency, students who eat more than one and ingest them too quickly are more prone to become ill.
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