Nathan Sharp, whose wife is Simona, owns Bada Bing, a cafe in Woodlands, suburban west Perth, in western Strilya. The local council has levelled charges against him of purveying “unsuitable food” after a mother, her five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, the ingredient of cannabis that gets you stoned, after eating at his establishment.

A brownie looks like this. Photo: stu_spivack

A brownie looks like this. Photo: stu_spivack

A five-year-old girl hallucinated

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported that the family, headed by Michael and Sharon (they prefer that their surname is not publicly known), purchased the brownie one morning in March. They had to take their five-year-old daughter to hospital when she started to hallucinate, seeing the walls as pink and blue. The father feared that she had suffered a brain injury. The mother told radio reporters that she was very frightened; she had tried to calm her daughter, which seemed to work until the daughter “would just open her eyes and give out this blood-curdling scream.” The hospital acknowledged that the girl’s heart was beating very quickly.

Taken to hospital

The five-year-old girl, Emily, her three-year-old brother, Thomas, and her mother, who shared in the brownie, tested positive for THC. The boy was drowsy, pale and nauseous. The mother felt tired, responded “to unknown stimuli” and hallucinated. Through his lawyer, Shash Nigam, the cafe’s director, Nathan Sharp, himself the father of four young children, professed that his reaction was “total shock”.

Dad tries another of the brownies

The next day, the father bought a second brownie and passed it on to police for testing, whereupon it was found to contain THC. The City of Stirling charged the cafe owner with two counts of selling unsuitable food, forbidden by section 18, sub-section two of the Food Act of 2008. This can arouse a fine amounting to as much as $40,000 (£22,000-ish) for an individual or five times as much for an organisation. The episode occurred on 2 March, and the cafe owner expressed displeasure at not hearing of the charges until they were mentioned on ABC radio. A court appearance will be made on 19 July.

It doesn’t seem to have been deliberate

There’s no evidence that the brownie was intentionally served, although the cafe’s website describes its cakes and desserts as home-made. A representative of the council described happenings as “an isolated incident”. While police received a complaint, a decision was made that there was “insufficient evidence to prefer charges.” The cafe is conducting an investigation of its own.

A cafe that “keep[s] the little ones happy”; cannabis does that

The cafe bills itself as a “locally owned family business” with “toys and colouring in to keep the little ones happy”. Its website claims it has “built a reputation for creative and delicious cakes and desserts that keep our customers coming back time and again.” Its director stated that he would sue for defamation because “there is no need for this story to be released so urgently in the morning”, and the business was adversely affected despite police not laying charges.

Bada Bing’s brownies look like this.

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