— Police are investigating an incident involving marijuana cookies that led to the suspension of nine Cape Elizabeth High School students.
School administrators received information Friday about marijuana-laced cookies on school grounds, said Superintendent Meredith Nadeau.
The student who provided the cookies apparently knew they contained marijuana, but it was less clear whether everyone who ate them knew, she said.
School policy calls for a student who distributes or sells drugs to be suspended for 10 days and possibly be expelled.
The penalty for first-time possession is a two-day suspension and a visit to a substance abuse counselor.
Some of the students ate the cookies, felt ill and went to the school nurse's office, but Nadeau indicated Monday that other information prompted the administration's investigation. She would not specify what that information was.
The incident apparently did not require anyone to go to the hospital, said Cape Elizabeth police Capt. Brent Sinclair.
There was no information to suggest that parents or school district employees were involved, Sinclair said.
The effects of ingesting marijuana in food can be different from those of smoking it, said Karen Simone, a clinical toxicologist and the center's director.
The sensations can be different, she said, and someone who ingests the plant could feel sick, especially if they don't know they have ingested it.
Marijuana could cause agitation, drowsiness, confusion or paranoia, Simone said, and the dosage may be harder to control when the drug is eaten. "Just because something gets you high doesn't mean you like it," she said.
Criminal prosecution in Friday's case could be difficult because police would have to make a case separate from the information that school officials obtained in their investigation, said Jonathan Berry, a lawyer who practices criminal defense and has a specialty in marijuana law.
School officials have broader authority than police to search lockers or compel statements from students, so that information might not be admissible in court, he said.
Berry said he's unaware of anyone being prosecuted for pot cookies.