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South Dakota Man Behind Bars After Unintentional Edible Consumption

South Dakota Man Behind Bars After Unintentional Edible Consumption

Ed Knight

By Ed Knight

March 18, 2022

A South Dakota man will be spending about two months behind bars after his senior citizen mother and her friends unwittingly ate his batch of cannabis brownies

The sentence from the judge on Tuesday marks the culmination of a series of unfortunate events for 46-year-old Michael Koranda. He was charged in January with possession of a controlled drug or substance by South Dakota authorities.

The rolling calamity began on January 4, when Koranda’s mother brought the brownies to her local community center. That’s when things took a turn. The Associated Press reported that authorities in Bon Home County, South Dakota “received several calls about possible poisonings.” All of the calls involved “seniors who had earlier been at a Tabor Community Center card game.”

“Two seniors who ate the brownies identified the woman who brought them,” the AP reported at the time. “The woman told Sheriff Mark Maggs that her son had baked the brownies she brought to the card game, according to the report. The woman gave Maggs the remainder of the brownies at her home.”

Koranda eventually owned up to the mishap, telling authorities that he had brought back some THC butter recently from Colorado. He was arrested, and later released on bond.

Koranda Resigned, Apologized and Received Punishment

Even before he was sentenced this week, Koranda had already suffered fallout from the incident. The Associated Press reported that he “resigned his position with the Bon Homme school district as its vocal music teacher as a result of his court case.”

On Tuesday, the judge in Bon Homme County ordered Koranda to spend 60 days in jail, in addition to two years of probation. The judge also ordered Koranda to “pay more than $3,400 in court costs and restitution,” and to “write an apology letter to the seniors who ate the marijuana brownies.” He had previously pleaded guilty to the felony drug charge.

At the sentencing hearing, Koranda apologized for his actions.

“I’m really sorry. This impacted so many in the community, and I’m sorry for that,” Koranda said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “So many people got sick, and that wasn’t my intention for that to happen.”

The Associated Press reported that “Judge Cheryle Gering told Kornada she realizes he didn’t intend for the brownies to be served at the community center card game, but his actions — including transporting THC-laced butter from Colorado — harmed the unsuspecting victims.”

Edible Safety Education Needed in South Dakota and Beyond

The ordeal has become a cautionary tale, and a reminder of the importance of properly labeling and storing cannabis-infused edibles. States such as Colorado that have legalized adult-use cannabis require that products be marked as such. 

In Alaska, the state’s Department of Health and Social Services requires “all edibles to be clearly labelled with the amount of THC in each serving, as well as the number and size of the servings in each package.”

The state’s commercial marijuana regulations require that labels on all edible products. The labels must “identify the marijuana retail store selling the marijuana product by name or distinctive logo and marijuana establishment license number;” and “state the total estimated amount of THC in the labeled product.”

The labels must also contain the following statements: “Marijuana has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming and addictive”; “Marijuana impairs concentration, coordination, and judgment; “Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under its influence”; “There are health risks associated with consumption of marijuana”; “For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of the reach of children”; and “Marijuana should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.”

In addition, the department advises customers to always “store marijuana edibles safely away from children and pets.”

Ed Knight

About The Author

Ed Knight

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