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Colorado Town's Water May Be Tainted With Marijuana Chemical THC

Drinking water containing THC would be similar to eating marijuana-infused food

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    Hugo, Colorado's, approximately 720 residents have been warned not to drink or cook using the local water supply after authorities found evidence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in the system. KUSA's Noel Brennan reports. (Published Friday, July 22, 2016)

    Officials told residents of a small Colorado town not to shower or drink tap water Thursday because wells have been contaminated with marijuana's intoxicating chemical.

    Hugo, about 100 miles southeast of Denver on Colorado's plains, prohibits marijuana cultivation, product manufacturing, testing facilities and retail marijuana stores that are legal in the state, so it's not known how THC appeared in the water supply.

    Micki Trost, spokeswoman for the Colorado Division of Emergency Management, did not know whether anyone had reported being sickened in the community of about 730 people. She also didn't know the source or extent of the contamination but said state investigators were headed to Hugo.

    No one has displayed symptoms, the Lincoln County sheriff's office said, adding that federal authorities also were involved in the investigation.

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    Cpt. Michael Yowell with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office says investigators have found evidence that someone may have tampered with one of the town’s five wells, NBC affiliate KUSA reported.

    "We are going to investigate this till the end," Yowell said, adding that officials are taking it "very serious."

    It's unlikely that consuming pot-tainted water would cause lasting health effects, said Mark Salley, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Health and Environment.

    The effects of drinking THC-laced water would depend on the concentration, the amount consumed and how quickly it was consumed, all information officials don't yet know, Salley said.

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    Drinking water containing THC would be similar to eating marijuana-infused food, meaning the effect would depend entirely on how much was consumed and the strength of the tainted water.