A Nelson restaurant has accidentally served a cake laced with synthetic cannabinoids to a group of diners, leaving six of them in hospital.
A dinner reservation was made for nine people at The Waka Restaurant and Bar in early July to celebrate the birthday of one of the diners.
The woman who reserved the table was told when making the booking that they were entitled to a complimentary birthday cake.
When she enquired about the cake offer after their meal, the waitress said she wasn’t sure but went to the kitchen and came back to confirm there was a cake for them.
It was promptly delivered, with candles, before being cut and served up to the guests.
Diner Nicola Nish says the cake “tasted weird”.
“It was like a carrot cake with chocolate icing, but everyone said it tasted weird and most didn’t finish their piece.”
After the dinner, and about two hours after eating the cake, the group’s sober driver began to feel numbness down the side of his arm and that his heart was beating a lot faster than normal. Fearing a major health problem, his wife Nicola called an ambulance.
Tests at Nelson Hospital confirmed that he wasn’t having a heart attack but that he tested positive for synthetic cannabinoids. By the end of the night another five members of the group were hospitalised with the same symptoms.
All tested positive for the drug that was made illegal in 2014.
The other three diners either didn’t eat the cake or simply thought they were drunk.
The positive urine tests were handed to the Ministry of Primary Industries by Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, which passed it on to Nelson Police to investigate.
But police won’t be pressing charges against the restaurant because of “insufficient evidence”.
Nicola says she is disgusted with what happened. “One of the other sober drivers was on her way home and had to pull over because she was getting blurred vision while driving. It was really dangerous and could have been much worse.”
The Waka Restaurant and Bar owner Francis Monopoli was approached for comment but could not be reached.