Pot-laced brownies send Lake Tahoe bachelorette party to ER | SierraSun.com

Pot-laced brownies send Lake Tahoe bachelorette party to ER

Claire Cudahy
ccudahy@tahoedailytribune.com

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Ten women from a bachelorette party in South Lake Tahoe found themselves in the emergency room after eating pot brownies they reportedly obtained through a ride-share company during the weekend of July 29-31.

In an Aug. 4 release, South Lake Tahoe Police Chief Brian Uhler revealed that eight of the 10 women were admitted to the hospital for treatment.

"While many would have you believe marijuana is a harmless drug, those of us in the public safety arena have seen increases in medical emergencies from marijuana ingestion," wrote Uhler.

"It is noteworthy that our system of emergency medical transport was completely tapped in order to handle this event. Thankfully, no other medical emergencies occurred simultaneously, otherwise someone might not have received timely emergency help."

Dr. Lance Orr, director of emergency services at Barton Memorial Hospital in South Lake Tahoe, said the emergency room sees roughly three to four patients a week who are experiencing adverse effects from smoking or ingesting marijuana.

"Typically on the weekends and typically people who are new to marijuana, like in the case of the bachelorette party," he added.

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Dr. Orr said patients come in with anxiety, sometimes vomiting, and occasionally mild hallucinations.

"People believe it's a drug that relaxes or chills you, but it can cause anxiety," said Orr. "If they are having bad anxiety, there are medicines that control that, and same with nausea, but usually it will subside without treatment over time."

Uhler used the bachelorette party incident as an example of why he is opposed to Proposition 64, which proposes the legalization of recreational marijuana in California, and will be put to a vote in this November's election.

"This initiative is bad for California and bad for South Lake Tahoe," continued Uhler. "After a similar, short-sighted 2014 initiative passed in Colorado, marijuana-related traffic deaths jumped 32 percent (2014 over 2013)."

In his report, Uhler argued that the money earned from marijuana taxes would not be used for "boots-on-the-ground" law enforcement.

"The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development is the biggest winner for future marijuana tax funds (increasing to $50 million/year and continuing forever). California Highway Patrol, by contrast gets just $3 million/year ending after five years for the non-enforcement functions to 'establish and adopt protocols to determine whether a driver is operating a vehicle while impaired, including impairment by the use of marijuana,'" wrote Uhler, quoting Proposition 64.

According to Orr, Barton Memorial Hospital may see an uptick in patients who are feeling adverse effects from marijuana use if Proposition 64 is passed, but he believes it will be from visitors, not locals.

"We suspect that we will see more individuals, especially visitors from places where it is not legal," he explained. "It's not going to be a huge effect on our emergency room — it won't help it — but I would guess maybe another two to three a week out of the 400-500 we see."