Cannabis is well on its way to being fully legal again, but dosing people without their knowledge and consent remains unpopular, unethical and illegal.
A Florida—why does it always have to be Florida‽‽—bride and her wedding caterer have found themselves in hot water with the wedding guests, emergency medical services, police and cannabis enthusiasts. How'd they manage to anger so many?
By infusing cannabis into the reception food without telling the guests.
Wedding guests have spoken to WFTV about that night.
Dosing people without their consent or knowledge is not only ethically awful, it can be dangerous—even for those who love cannabis.
Let's take a moment to break down why.
The cannabis plant comes in three basic types and the way it impacts you—both mentally and physically—is determined by the type. Like any other substance, each users unique body will also change how they are affected.
Sativa type cannabis can be refreshing and invigorating for many, but for some it can increase anxiety, heartrate, breathing and make them feel flighty and easily startled.
Indica cannabis can be calming and a great pain killer for many, but for some it can cause feelings of depression, disconnect from your body, slower speech and reaction time and make them feel almost as if they're sinking into melancholy.
Hybrid strains, which are most common, combine the properties of the other two.
So when it comes to cannabis use, when, how and how heavily it affects you really comes down to what individual cultivar (strain) is used, how it is ingested and the users own body. The same plant ingested the same way could cause bliss for one user and insurmountable sadness in another.
In the case of these wedding guests, they had no idea they were ingesting cannabis to begin with and certainly weren't given the opportunity to ask what cultivar was used so they could understand and prepare for how it would affect them.
Even people who love and regularly use cannabis might not love or want to use that cultivar of cannabis at that moment.
Consent, as always, is everything.
The outdated trope of "spiking the punch" might have been funny in older movies, but in the real world it can lead to embarrassment, headaches & hangovers, alcohol poisoning or worse and a whole lot of charges against you.
Spiking the lasagna didn't go any better.
Authorities have been able to confirm the presence of THC in at least the lasagna and the bread; but guests reported seeing catering staff mixing "oil and a green substance" into a type of dip and suspect that other food was infused as well.
Not knowing the food had THC in it, guests ate up. Some people had double servings, dipped their bread more, or had beer, wine or other alcohol with their meal. Combining alcohol and cannabis is not recommended.
Guests hit the dancefloor, and that's when the cannabis started to kick in—and kick in way too hard.
The wedding guests didn't know they were going to feel any mental, emotional, or physical effects from their wedding dinner. They had no idea they needed to pace themselves or decline the meal if they were sensitive to cannabis.
That unexpected and nonconsensual high led to racing hearts, dizziness, vomiting, foggy minds and panicked calls to 911 by guests who thought they were having medical emergencies.
The Seminole County Florida Fire Department arrived on scene to help.
They found several of the weddings 30-40 guests requesting assistance, with some saying they felt like they were dying. At least two guests were "too incoherent" to fully participate, according to authorities.
Multiple people were transported to hospitals for assistance.
Police were called in, but catering staff didn't stick around to talk and the wedding couple denied any knowledge of what was going on. Samples were collected and an investigation was launched.
More than one guest wanted to press charges.
Investigators say interview after interview turned their focus to the bride as well as the caterer, whose website lists her as a "holistic chef."
The wedding was in February, but the bride and caterer have just turned themselves into police, which has brought the incident into the public eye.
The pair face felony charges of reckless tampering, culpable negligence and possessing marijuana. According to the bride's attorney, they will not be making any comments on the incident.