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Rural Alaska

Students caught selling marijuana candies in Bethel High School

  • Author: Christine Trudeau, KYUK
  • Updated: December 8, 2017
  • Published December 8, 2017

Bethel Regional High School in February 2017. (Lisa Demer / Alaska Dispatch News)

Several students have been caught selling marijuana edibles at Bethel Regional High School, officials said.

The incidents took place from September to early October. Parents contacted the Lower Kuskokwim School District staff with suspicions that their children might be involved.

Superintendent Dan Walker said the district worked with the parents and the Bethel Police Department to investigate the drug dealing.

" 'Marijuana oil-laced gummy bears' is the way it was described to me," said Walker. "It was investigated by Bethel Police Department and students involved were issued some discipline."

Walker cited confidentiality in saying he could not comment on the specifics, including who the sellers were and what disciplinary actions have been taken; neither could the Bethel Police Department. Police said that the matter is being taken up by the Juvenile Justice Division and the District Attorney's Office.

Walker says the number of such incidents that have occurred already this school year is unprecedented.

"Given our experience over the last four or five years, you know we might have an incident here and there, but I would say at least five incidents that I can remember off the top of my head this year that required my level of intervention," Walker said.

School district safety coordinator Perry Barr, who oversees everything regarding school safety from drugs and alcohol to security issues, said the candies were sold at $5 apiece.

"The dangerous thing about that is you don't know the potency of the THC that's in the gummy bears," Barr said.

THC is the active ingredient in marijuana. Barr says high doses in edibles can have much more intense and long-lasting effects. He says that the issue of marijuana edibles is a new one for the district.

"Since Alaska legalized marijuana, they also legalized edibles. So marijuana, or the THC, is coming in many different forms. Unfortunately, some of those forms are in candy," said Barr.

Barr says the school district's policy involves educating students and providing treatment resources, including social workers districtwide.

"One of the most important things is actually getting the children to realize how dangerous drugs and alcohol is," Barr said.

This article originally appeared on KYUK.org and is republished here with permission.

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