Nova Scotia

Molasses cake with THC served to children, staff at Eskasoni school

Cake containing cannabis was served to children and staff at a school in Eskasoni, N.S., on Friday, according to police.

One adult was sent to hospital, some children felt ill after event on Friday

RCMP are asking anyone who was sick from the cake to contact them. (Susan Montoya Bryan/Associated Press)

Cake containing cannabis was served to children and staff at a school in Eskasoni, N.S., on Friday, according to police.

In a news release, Nova Scotia RCMP say a molasses cake was believed to have contained THC — the intoxicating component of cannabis.

One adult was sent to hospital shortly after eating the cake on Friday. A number of adults and children later sought medical attention after feeling ill.

Some tested positive for THC. Those include Kate Augustine's eight-year-old daughter, who attends the Eskasoni Immersion School, which has children from kindergarten to Grade 5. Eskasoni is about 40 kilometres southwest of Sydney, N.S.

Pale and sweating

"I was really angry and I'm hurt that that happened to her," Augustine said. "I'm just happy she didn't have a really bad anxiety attack or a heart attack.

"It is really scary. I couldn't even think about it because I was crying."

Augustine said her daughter was pale and sweating after school on Friday.

"I asked her what was wrong and she just kept telling me she was tired and her eyes were sore," she said.

"When she woke up in the morning she was still groggy."

Cpl. Jennifer Clarke says there are fewer than 10 people known to have become sick. An outside caterer provided the cake for the event.

"We know the event was catered, so we do know where the cake came from," Clarke said. 

"We don't know how it happened and obviously we're looking into whether it was intentional."

Augustine said she learned about what had happened on Saturday morning from another parent. She decided to take her two children who attend the school to hospital and the eight-year-old tested positive for THC.

Among the other children who were there at the same time, Augustine said at least two tested positive for THC.

Mid-winter feast

She said at no point was she contacted directly by school staff about the incident.

"They should have contacted me right away," she said.

"I would like them to contact me, to actually come and talk to me, instead of me reading stuff on social media."

According to a post by the Eskasoni School Board on Facebook, the school was having a mid-winter feast on Friday.

The post says "edible marijuana may have inadvertently been placed in a dessert cake" that was served.

"If you have [ingested] food from this event, or brought home from the event you should seek medical attention if necessary," the post reads. "If you have food from this event in your possession, please destroy it immediately."

Eskasoni Chief Leroy Denny said he and council will act on the police findings, but they have to wait until the investigation is complete.

"Our main concern is the health and safety of these children. I'm glad that everybody is fine, OK now, but it was a scare," he said.

"Parents are upset, I spoke with some of them ... Once we get all the information, we'll get to the bottom of this."

Denny said he plans to speak with both police and the school board on Monday.

The number of young children in Canada in need of medical care after accidentally ingesting cannabis has been on the rise, according to a report last year from the Canadian Paediatric Society.

The report said the majority of confirmed cases were due to accidental ingestion of cannabis belonging to a parent or caregiver.

Police in Eskasoni are investigating and ask anyone who became ill, regardless if they sought medical treatment, to contact them at 902-379-2822.

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Corrections

  • A previous version of this story included a photo of the wrong school. The story has been updated.
    Feb 03, 2020 10:22 AM AT

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