Café Owner Who Served Mother and Two Children Pot Brownies Fined $15,000

Perth, Australia café owner Nathan Sharp has been fined $15,000 for selling a mother and two children brownies infused with cannabis in 2019, according to 9News. Testing revealed that the brownies contained trace amounts of THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana. The drug is illegal in Western Australia.

In March 2019, Michael Maxwell, Sharon Hoysted, and their two children, Emily, 5, and Tom, 3, stopped by Bada Bing Café for breakfast. There, they purchased two brownies, which Sharon, Emily, and Tom ate. Upon returning home, Emily began screaming and told her parents that her "eyes weren't right" and that "she felt like was in a TV," according to The Brisbane Times. Her brother then began to behave strangely as well, the story said.

The children were taken to the Perth Children's Hospital. While waiting outside their hospital room, Hoysted started to feel sick. Objects were "jumping from one point to another," she said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

"I honestly thought I was going mad," she said. "I thought they were going to take me away and I was never going to see my kids again because I knew what was happening to me, and I wasn't able to control it, and I knew I couldn't stop it from happening again."

Urine samples provided by all three affected family members tested positive for THC, prompting Maxwell to call the police, according to the Times.

The next day, Maxwell returned to the café and purchased another brownie, which he sent to the laboratory ChemCentre for analysis. The analysis allegedly confirmed that the brownies contained something besides eggs, flour, sugar, butter, and chocolate—specifically, THC.

Sharp was eventually arrested and charged with two offenses under the Food Act 2008, according to 9News.

During the trial, Sharp told the court that he had received "cannabis butter" from a friend months before the incident occurred and made brownies with it, according to the ABC. He allegedly told the police that "one must have fallen out the fridge or freezer and got mixed up with the ones in the shop" a week after his arrest, according to the Times, but later denied ever making such statements.

While the judge assigned to the case, Magistrate Lynette Dias, accepted that the sale of the drugged brownies was unintentional, she deemed Sharp neither an "honest, reliable, or credible" witness dismissing his defense as "far-fetched and fanciful," according to the ABC. On May 19, Sharp was found guilty on both counts. However, he reportedly plans to appeal the decision.

Maxwell said that Emily and Tom required psychological counseling after the incident, according to ABC. To this day, he added, they remain somewhat suspicious of strange food.

"Every now and again, and it was only a few days ago ... Tom did say randomly, 'Has this got marijuana in it?'" he said.

In addition to paying $15,000 in fines, Sharp is on the hook for $25,000 in court costs, according to 9News.

A marijuana leaf drapes a brownie.
A marijuana leaf drapes a chocolate brownie festooned with star-shaped sprinkles. Last Wednesday, an Australian cafe owner was found guilty of selling cannabis-infused brownies to a family of customers. YURI CORTEZ/Getty Images