'Pot' cookies lead to criminal charges against Cape Elizabeth students

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Three juveniles were arrested and charged with drug trafficking – and at least two could be expelled from school – for their alleged roles in the distribution of marijuana-laced cookies Dec. 7 at Cape Elizabeth High School.

Police Department Capt. Brent Sinclair on Wednesday said two 17-year-old boys and a 15-year-old boy were charged with aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs for allegedly selling the cookies to other students at the school.

In addition to the drug trafficking charges, 18-year-old Samuel Sherman, who is the son of Town Councilor David Sherman, and seven boys were issued summonses for possession of marijuana. Four of the juveniles are 16 years old; three are 15. One of the 16-year-olds is from South Portland, the rest live in Cape Elizabeth.

The students are alleged to have sold and ingested the cookies at school before some of them attended a day-long TEDxYouth event – part of a worldwide series of discussions designed to empower and inspire young people, which was being hosted for the first time by a Maine high school. The cookies were discovered after some of the students became ill and required medical assistance from the school nurse.

The investigation involved at least three officers, Sinclair said.

“We are hoping this concludes it,” he said. “(There is) no other information at this point.”

The police investigation is likely completed, but Superintendent of Schools Meredith Nadeau on Thursday said more than one student faces possible expulsion because of the incident.

“Our substance abuse policies spell out what the consequences are,” Nadeau said. While uncertain how many students were suspended for 10 days, she said notices of expulsion hearings will be sent out next month to more than one student.

Nadeau said the incident and ensuing charges should also prompt wider discussions with students, staff and administrators.

“I think substance abuse issues are not new to schools,” Nadeau said. “This is an opportunity to have a dialogue.”

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.