James Lick students sickened by rainbow cannabis candies, San Francisco school district says

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The James Lick students who had bloodshot eyes, were "seeing fuzzy" and were otherwise sickened by the rainbow candies they ate on Tuesday actually ingested an undisclosed amount of medical cannabis, the San Francisco Unified School District announced.

"Based on the current evidence and symptoms, health professional suspect the students consumed cannabis," the district said in a Wednesday email. "The students symptoms were consistent with marijuana intoxication and a container labeled 'marijuana cannabis' was confiscated."

Ten students reported feeling sick about 1:20 p.m. on Tuesday and five of those students went to the hospital.

There has never been a reported death from a marijuana overdose, but symptoms can include panic and paranoia. The district did not mention who brought the edibles to school, the brand of the candy, or how much THC was in each dose. The state of California has now legalized recreational marijuana for anyone 21 and older and mandates that each dose can contain no more than 10 mg of THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis.

Before the official diagnosis was released, several students had told KTVU that their friends had eaten rainbow-colored gummy strips before getting sick.

Eighth grader Matthew Garcia spoke to KTVU at James Lick on Wednesday morning. He insisted he didn't eat the rainbow gummy that looked like "regular Walgreen's candy," but went to the hospital as a precaution.  

Matthew said he started to realize it wasn't just regular candy after his friends "started feeling dizzy and started throwing up."

Matthew said all of his friends have left the hospital and are doing OK. He did not say who brought in the candy.

Parents Elizabeth and Michael Ramos Jajeh said their 13-year-old daughter was one of the five students taken to the hospital. "My daughter said it tasted nasty, like medicated candy," Elizabeth Jajeh said. When she picked up her daughter, her teen had bloodshot eyes, was feeling very tired and "seeing fuzzy."

What scares Michael Jajeh so much is that this could easily happen again. "This was disguised as innocent candy," he said. "This could have really hurt her."

And while this situation led children to be hospitalized, Michael Jajeh said it's not the first time he has heard of his daughter's classmates drinking alcohol and smoking pot.  

"It's a bigger problem," Michael Jajeh said. "There are things exposed to her at school that she shouldn't have been exposed to. We can't control what other kids do." 

In August 2016, 19 people, including children who were as young as 6 years old, accidentally ate marijuana-laced edible rings at a quinceanera in San Francisco. 

The school district reminded all parents and students that bringing and consuming any drug, whether legal for those 21 and older, such as alcohol, marijuana or, illegal, is against school and district rules.

Spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said teachers will "continue to prioritize a fact-based drug education program at all grade levels and will process this incident with students in age-appropriate discussions."