A man who blacked out driving a 38-passenger bus from a Connecticut casino in March has been charged with 38 counts of reckless endangerment, and says he didn’t know he was eating gummies that contained marijuana prior to passing out.
Jinhuan Chen was arrested at his home in Boston Monday and appeared in court Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
Chen, who had to speak through a Chinese interpreter, told Superior Court Judge Ndidi Moses, “I didn’t know it was marijuana. I didn’t know.”
The CT Post reported that on March 13, shortly after 3 p.m., a Connecticut state trooper was dispatched to reports of a bus along I-95 south. The state police said Chen was unconscious in the driver’s seat when the trooper arrived. A passenger notified state police that Chen had been eating something from a bag next to him before he passed out, and police said they found a bag of “Smokies Edibles Cannabis Infused Fruit Chews” next to Chen.
Victor Chen, the manager of the bus company Jinhuan Chen worked for, said Jinhaun “doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, but he has a sweet tooth and likes candy.”
“This would never have happened a couple of years ago, but now there’s marijuana everywhere here,” Victor added.
The driver was transported to Bridgeport Hospital and reportedly found to have a high level of THC in his blood. Moses ordered a $25,000 bond for Chen and will continue the case on August 25.
Some have claimed that it’s difficult to tell the difference between certain marijuana products and candy or snack packaging. An April study published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal warned that some marijuana edibles packaging looks nearly identical to name-brand candies such as Nerds Rope and snacks like Doritos Nacho Cheese chips, The Daily Wire previously reported.
In May, The Daily Wire also reported that California children consumed cannabis at school thinking it was candy.
The Jacoby Creek School students were sent to the hospital when they showed symptoms of intoxication at school after consuming the cannabis edibles, according to the Times-Standard. The school is located in Humboldt County, known for its cultivation of cannabis.
The Arcata Police Department believes one of the students brought the gummies from home unaware that the product was infused with cannabis. Police also reminded parents to keep edible cannabis products away from children.