Men Sent to Hospital After Eating Cookies They Thought Contained Pot

August 9, 2010 Updated Aug 9, 2010 at 9:11 PM EDT

By Laura Gray

August 9, 2010 Updated Aug 9, 2010 at 9:11 PM EDT

GRAND ISLAND, NY (WKBW) -- The Erie County Sheriff's Department tells us all of the men suffered symptoms similar to those of a food allergy after eating cookies that they believe contained marijuana.

Authorities responded to the River Oaks Marina in Grand Island shortly before ten Saturday night for five men suffering symptoms of allergic reactions.

Captain Ron Kenyon of the Sheriff's Department describes the symptoms as, "Some difficultly breathing, swelling of the tongue, and swelling of the lips."

Authorities say homemade sugar cookies made them sick but it's not clear why. The cookies are said to have originated from a California man.

"He sent his relative a gift of Christmas cookies last Christmas that were made of herbs as an ingredient. The person who received them didn't have plans on using them so he put them in the freezer." Captain Kenyon says.

Saturday,the un-named party-goer brought the cookies to the marina for a party. He left without eating any, but the Kenyon says five other men did eat the cookies.

"Those who consumed it were under the impression that it was marijuana," he said.

Today, Thomas Dunne, 72, of Florida is in stable condition at ECMC.

60-year-old George Kunkel of Buffalo, 54-year-old Steven Runbold of Depew, and 50-year-old William Klopp of Eden were treated at ECMC and released

56-year-old William Ackendorf of Grand Island declined hospitalization.

It doesn't appear that anyone tampered with the cookies to harm people, but authorities have sent the cookies to a lab for testing.

Captain Kenyon tells us, "The person who sent the cookies to relatives had what he thought was good intent. He strongly believes in the healing power of certain herbs, including marijuana."

Marijuana is illegal in New York state, and mailing it is a federal offense. Officials are holding off any charges pending chemical testing and the results of the investigation.

Authorities say food testing is difficult, and could take several weeks.