Shelburne Farms workers fall ill after ingesting marijuana-laced candy

Two employees of Shelburne Farms were treated at a Burlington hospital after they unsuspectedly ate marijuana-laced chocolates left behind by guests, according to Shelburne Police.

Police and rescue responded to the Inn at Shelburne Farms about 10:22 a.m. last Wednesday after a report that an employee had become ill and was lying in the parking lot, Officer Josh Flore said.

The initial call indicated the employee was unconscious, but she was conscious by the time first responders arrived, police said.

When police arrived, they determined that two women had become ill after eating chocolates. The chocolates had been left behind by two California guests who had already checked out and left the inn, police said.

The guests were later reached by phone and cooperated with police, Flore said.

The investigation revealed the chocolates were marijuana edibles and the guests had made a decision not to carry them on in their travels, Flore said.

The two workers told police they consumed one chocolate each. Five more chocolates were found in a candy box, according to police.

Police said no criminal charges are being sought against the guests who stayed at the historic inn on Lake Champlain.

Possessing marijuana in Vermont without a prescription is still illegal until July 1. That’s when a new law goes into effect allowing possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and allowing individuals to grow a limited number of marijuana plants. It will still be illegal to sell marijuana under the new law.

Flore said Shelburne Rescue transported the two women to University of Vermont Medical Center for evaluation. They were released later that day, according to an inn spokeswoman.

Police said in this case the edibles looked like the malted milk ball candies known as “Whoppers.”

Many marijuana edibles available have the same appearance as everyday food items. Flore urged the public to be safe and considerate.

“If a person does possess marijuana edibles, please make sure the edibles are kept secure and out of reach of children and unwilling participants,” Flore said.

The fact that the inn workers decided to sample the chocolates goes against common practice in the industry that expects housekeeping staff to refrain from eating any food left by guests.

“Our expectation is that food left behind in any room is not to be consumed, which is the norm in the hospitality industry,” said Holly Brough, director of communications at Shelburne Farms. Any personal items left behind are brought to the front desk to be returned to the guests, she explained.

Following this incident, Brough said, Shelburne Farms would be reviewing its staff training programs to ensure that all employees understand this expectation.

Shelburne Farms also provided the following statement about the two ill employees: “We are pleased to report that both Farm employees involved in this incident have been released from the hospital and are expected to fully recover.

“This morning, they unknowingly consumed marijuana that had been brought in and left behind at the Inn by a guest. Shelburne Farms’ priority is the health, well-being, and privacy of our employees and guests.”

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