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Jamaica: Children in hospital after eating cannabis sweets

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By Kathryn Armstrong BBC News

More than 60 children have been taken to hospital in Jamaica after eating sweets containing cannabis, the country's education minister said.

Fayval Williams wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that the primary school pupils were from the St Ann's Bay area - about 80km (50 miles) from the capital, Kingston.

She said some children experienced vomiting and hallucinations.

None are reported to be in a serious condition.

"The doctors & nurses are doing all they can to ensure the students recover," Ms Williams wrote on X, adding that several of the children had to be put on an intravenous (IV) drip.

"One little boy said he only had ONE sweetie. That's how potent this product is. DANGER!"

Ms Williams said the children were from St Ann's Bay Primary, but local news agencies have reported that students from the nearby Ocho Rios Primary School were affected. The children are thought to be between the ages of seven and 12.

The principal of the latter school told the Jamaica Observer that a "lone vendor" had sold the sweets to its students.

The head of the St Ann police department, Senior Superintendent Dwight Powell, has urged the person or anyone with information about them to contact the authorities.

Ms Williams posted photos of the product packaging which is thought to have contained the sweets, which specifies they are not to be sold to minors.

Each is said to contain 100mg of the psychoactive substance Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is generally considered to be a high dose for an adult.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Delta-8 has "intoxicating effects".

The sweets, which are not FDA-approved, were produced by a company based in the US state of California, where cannabis is legal.

Jamaica decriminalised the possession of small amounts of cannabis, also known as marijuana, for personal use in 2015.

However, Health Minister Christopher Tufton told the Jamaica Star that the government did not allow the import of edibles containing drugs.

The incident comes more than a week after around 90 children fell ill in South Africa after eating drug-laced muffins that officials said they had bought from a street vendor.


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