Eight People Hospitalized After Eating Pot-Laced Paella at Spanish Restaurant
A group of tourists got super high after eating a paella lunch in a Spanish resort town, but police have been unable to discover exactly how they got dosed.
Published on January 15, 2020

Eight tourists visiting a resort in Spain were hospitalized after unwittingly consuming a massive amount of weed that may have been infused into a dish of paella.

The group was visiting Lanzarote, a well-known tourist spot on Canary Island, to participate in a training course. Before beginning their course for the day, each of them shared a paella lunch from a nearby restaurant. After returning from lunch in the early afternoon, several members of the group started feeling sick, while others reported feeling euphoric.

The dazed tourists were sent to the Doctor Jose Molina Orosa Hospital in nearby Arrecife. Noelia Umpierrez, Director of the Health Department of Lanzarote, has now confirmed that all eight of the patients tested positive for cannabis. 

"After eating and going back to the course they were attending, they started to feel sick, some of them were also euphoric, some of them with an increased heartbeat, and they called an ambulance,” Umpierrez said, according to The Mirror.

The group members all swore that they did not consciously consume cannabis, which led authorities to suspect that the meal that they shared could have been dosed with weed. The owner of the restaurant that served the suspect paella denied being involved in the incident, and invited local police to investigate. Police and health authorities shut down the restaurant for a day, but found no signs of weed in the kitchen.

All eight tourists have now been released from the hospital, with no complications. Authorities still have no idea exactly how they got so high, though. The police investigation has at least ruled out the possibility that the restaurant is wantonly dosing its customers with weed. Authorities seem to be accepting the tourists' explanation that they didn't intentionally consume the weed, but the possibility still remains that they ate some pot brownies before their class, got too high, and blamed it on someone else.

Although eating too much weed can be a frightening experience — especially if you have no idea that you're consuming it — cannabis overconsumption rarely causes any long-term health consequences. Regardless, the media often recirculates scare stories, warning about how weed edibles are sending more people to the hospital. While it is true (although rare) that weed gummies have sometimes ended up in the hands of children, many of these concerns can be resolved by proper legalization, packaging, and regulation of cannabis edibles.

Marijuana edible mix-ups are not always so scary, however. Last summer, a Georgia bakery accidentally made a customer a marijuana-themed birthday cake after mishearing the customer's request for the Disney character Moana. The cake, which featured a pot leaf and a My Little Pony character with a joint and bloodshot eyes, did not go so far as to include any actual weed, however.

Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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