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New Brunswick

RCMP investigate after 7 children consume cannabis candies at Sackville school

New Brunswick RCMP is trying to determine how a 5th grade girl obtained cannabis sweets, which were then used by seven children at school on Wednesday.

Sergeant Eric Hanson of the Sackville Department said the students, ages 10 and 11, consumed the cannabis candies after the girl took them to Marshview Middle School.

Hanson didn’t say if the kids knew the candies contained THC. He said the candies are not legal cannabis NB products.

Some of the students felt ill, he said. When the school found out what had happened, the principal called their parents and sent all seven students to the hospital.

None required hospitalization, and they were home later, Hanson said.

“No serious injuries or effects to report,” he said Thursday. “All the children are fine today.”

The Anglophone East School District would not speak to CBC News about the Marshview incident, which is home to students in grades 5 through 8.

The RCMP is now investigating where the girl found the candy, who bought it and where that person bought it. Any cannabis product that is not purchased from a state-licensed facility, which in New Brunswick is Cannabis NB only, is illegal.

Hanson said it’s too early to tell what the possible outcome of the investigation might be.

“It depends on what the investigation reveals,” he said. “Charges could possibly follow. It depends on the overall investigation whether things were done voluntarily or not.

“We need to talk to some people first and find out exactly where they came from and under what circumstances they were acquired.”

Health Canada warnings

Health Canada has issued several notices regarding children accidentally ingesting cannabis and THC in the form of candy or snacks. In 2021, a mother spoke out after her child ate cannabis cookies that look like Oreos.

According to Health Canada, these unregulated foods can cause serious harm if eaten, especially by children or pets.

“Any products with flashy packaging, images, catchy names, strange THC symbols, or that mimic popular brand names are illegal and unregulated, should not be consumed, and should be reported to your local law enforcement agencies,” the agency said.

Hanson said the RCMP would normally be notified by the school if something like this happened. In this case, however, the RCMP was alerted by a media inquiry late Wednesday afternoon.

He said that if he hadn’t heard from the media first, he “absolutely” would have heard about the school.

“The school was actively trying to find out what was going on and called parents and social development before we had been called,” he said. “As soon as I received this media inquiry I called the school, spoke to the principal and we have been working with them ever since.”

School system cites privacy law

During Thursday, before the RCMP released any information, the CBC requested information from multiple sources.

“Because of RTIPPA, we can’t comment on this,” said Stephanie Patterson, spokeswoman for the Anglophone East School District, referring to the Right to Information and Privacy Act.

Patterson did not respond to questions about what this means or which section of the law she was referring to.

The principal directed all media questions to Patterson. The Department of Education put questions to Patterson, as did the Anglophone East District Education Council.

The principal directed all media questions to Patterson. The Department of Education directed all questions to Patterson, as did the Anglophone East District Education Council.

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