A cafe owner has been charged after two young children and their mother ate a brownie allegedly laced with marijuana at his Perth business.
A Perth family says they were hospitalised after eating a brownie laced with marijuana allegedly sold to them at Bada Bing cafe in Woodlands.
The two children, aged 5 and 3, reportedly began acting strangely and complaining of hallucinations after they ate part of the brownie on March 2, news.com.au reported.
Urine tests confirmed the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the primary psychoactive constituent of cannabis — in the mother and two children, the ABC reported.
The children's parents, Michael and Sharon, who asked for their surnames not to be used, said their children were still feeling the effects of the brownie more than three months later.
In an interview with ABC radio this morning, Michael said his initial thought was his daughter was suffering brain trauma.
"I sat her up on the bench and she said, 'Dad my eyes are going,'" he said. "She didn't really understand it … but she said everything's jumping, the walls are different colours — pink and blue — and the last one, which really scared me, was she said her vision's going, that she can't see anything."
His wife, Sharon, said the trip to hospital was "very frightening".
"I was trying to calm Emily; she would calm down, and then she would just open her eyes and give out this bloodcurdling scream," she said.
"Her heart was racing so much, that I actually couldn't count it … I was terrified, and so was Emily."
A few minutes after arriving at the hospital, Sharon said she began to describe similar symptoms to her children.
"It progressed really quickly. It went from 'I'm seeing bizarre colours' to losing her short-term memory, really intense fear, disorientation, it was really quite extreme," Michael said.
"I remember feeling completely terrified because I knew I couldn't control what was happening to me," Sharon said. "I knew it wasn't just a dream, and I was completely terrified."
"Emily refused to eat anything without at least being so careful about what's in it for a long time; it has played on their minds and they still ask, even now," Michael said.
"We go to other cafes or different places or even cook and they ask, 'Does this have marijuana in it?'" Sharon said.
Sharon and the two children tested positive for THC, but Michael — who said he did not eat part of the brownie — was clear.
The family's medical notes say the little girl was so "inexplicably scared and afraid" that her heart was beating very fast, while the boy was noted as being drowsy, nauseous and pale.
It is unknown how the marijuana came to be in the brownie or how it ended up being allegedly sold to the family.
There is no evidence the suppliers intended to sell a cannabis-laced item to the family.
Michael said he later returned to the cafe, bought another brownie and sent it off to police. He said the results showed it also found traces of marijuana.
"I was a little concerned, because these processes take time, that no one was actually checking what was happening at the cafe," he said.
"I just thought I'll go and buy another brownie because that's one way at least to get something from the cafe at around the time that it happened.
"So I went and bought a brownie on my way back from giving an interview with police and just took that home and put it straight in the freezer and then a week or so later the police came and took that away.
"I understand from feedback from police and the council that that has been tested and is positive for components of marijuana."
According to Bada Bing's website, the cafe is a locally owned family business run by husband and wife team Nathan and Simona Sharp.
Mr Sharp describes the cafe as "kid-friendly cafe/restaurant with toys and colouring-in to keep the little ones happy".
The City of Sterling's environmental health team investigated the incident and has brought two charges against Mr Sharp.
"The City of Stirling's environmental health team investigated the matter after receiving a report from the complainants," the council said in a statement to news.com.au.
"As a result, the city has initiated prosecution action against the business in question.
"Analysis of one brownie confirmed the presence of THC and other cannabinoids. As this matter is not yet before the courts, the city is unable to go into further detail.
"However we can assure our residents and the community that we have done a thorough investigation. This appears to be an isolated incident and the city believes it has addressed any potential risk to the community."
Mr Sharp issued a statement to news.com.au through his lawyer, saying the cafe was co-operating with WA Police and the City of Sterling on the matter.
"It came as a total shock to us that a Perth family is alleging that they became ill after eating at our cafe," the statement read.
"We, of course, have and continue to fully investigate this allegation.
"We have co-operated with WA Police who have confirmed that their investigation has been completed and no charges will be laid.
"We have co-operated with the City of Stirling in their investigation. We are most disappointed that we only came to know of the two charges being laid by the local council under the provisions of the Food Act on ABC Radio this morning. Neither our lawyer nor we have been served with any papers to date.
"There will now be a court process, which has to take its course. We want to respect this process by not commenting any further at this time."
The matter will go before Perth Magistrates Court on July 19.