A high school teacher in Birmingham, Michigan, was hospitalized last week -- and had to spend the next few days pulling himself together -- after allegedly eating a cookie that one of his 18-year-old pupils had baked. No, it wasn't because of a gluten intolerance.
A toxicology test indicates that the teacher had consumed a significant dose of THC, according to the Detroit Free Press. (Let's call it "The Case Of Teacher Had Cookie.")
So, if the teen is found guilty, what kind of punishment is he looking at? Suspension? Expulsion? 180 hours of community service like this French student who pulled the same stunt?
Actually in Michigan, it carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years. This kid may be almost 30 by the time he gets out.
The specific charge is food tampering, which some states punish more heavily than others; it ranges from a misdemeanor to a felony, and can even carry a life sentence if the victim dies. (It's unlikely that pot edibles would be fatal, though a 19-year-old in Colorado fell from his balcony last year after reportedly eating a cookie with enough THC for 6.5 servings.)
Tampering also became a federal crime after cyanide-laced Tylenol killed seven Chicago residents in the early 1980s, which is why most consumable products now have safety seals. Sneaking someone marijuana is pretty different than sneaking them cyanide, of course, but food tampering laws still cover the impairment of someone else's mental faculty.
There have been similar headline-making arrests in recent years across the U.S., with teachers unknowingly ingesting laxatives, eyedrops, hand sanitizer and vomit-inducing drugs. In 2006, a Texas 18-year-old admitted to putting pot-laced bran muffins in his school's teacher's lounge, which resulted in 18 hospitalizations and a federal terrorism investigation.
Fortunately for the accused Michigan student, it sounds like he may get off relatively easy. Cmdr. Terry Kiernan of the Birmingham Police Department tells MTV News, "With the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, if you're 16 to 19 years old, and ... if you have a good record ... you go on probation until you're 21, as long as you don't get in any more trouble. It's a 'get out of jail free card,' and it goes off your record, and you go on without it hanging over your head."
But, Kiernan cautions, that's not his decision to make. "It depends on how the judge and prosecutor viewed that," he says. "The maximum could be a 10-year felony." The prosecutor's office didn't return our request for comment.
Kiernan says the teacher is "back to work and doing OK," and he doubts that the student had malicious intent: "I'm speculating here, but I don't think he had anything against the teacher. [The teacher] wouldn't have taken food product if he didn't trust the kid. I don't think the kid meant to harm him; he just thought it'd be fun. From what it looks like, it was basic stupidity."
Just give your teacher an apple -- if they want to make a pipe out of it, that's their decision.