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Man Faces Child Endangerment Charges After Child Eats Pot Cookies 

Wednesday, Sep 7 2011

On May 1, an Inner Parkside woman arrived home from a party her three kids had attended, held by the father of her children's school friends. Soon she noticed that her 4-year-old daughter was acting strange. "I started calling her name, and she wouldn't look at me," the woman recalls. "She would just look off in some other direction and laugh."

As her daughter began to act more and more, well, stoned, the woman recalled an odd encounter. As she was leaving the party, Mark Friesen, the 37-year-old host, had approached her and given her a small bag with some treats inside. "These are adult cookies," he allegedly said to the woman. She began to suspect that her daughter had accidentally eaten marijuana cookies at the party.

The mother, whose name SF Weekly is withholding to protect the identity of her daughter, called an ambulance as the girl appeared to become catatonic. At the hospital, the girl's stomach was pumped. "We got to the emergency room and she ended up having two seizures," the woman says. "She was basically unresponsive for 12 hours. It wasn't until the next afternoon that she woke up.

"It was horrible," she adds. "When the fire truck came, I thought for sure she wasdying."

As a result of the incident, Friesen was charged by the San Francisco District Attorney's office with a felony count of child endangerment and a felony count related to the sale, transportation, or giving away of marijuana. He referred questions from a reporter to his attorney, who declined to comment on the case. "We can't really comment on an ongoing prosecution," says Matthew Siroka, Friesen's lawyer. "As far as the girl goes, it's obviously a terrible thing, and we feel terrible that she had to go to the hospital and the family had to suffer."

The girl has fully recovered, according to her mother. Friesen's fate is less certain. He pleaded not guilty to the charges against him in May, and his next appearance in courtis scheduled for Sept. 21,according to DA spokesmanSeth Steward.

The victim's mother says she was upset less by the fact that pot cookies were available in Friesen's kitchen — it was actuallythe girl's father who gave her one, ignorant of its psychotropic properties — than about Friesen's unwillingness to help after the fact. When the woman called Friesen as her daughter became sick to find out what was in the cookies,"He just started laughing," she alleges. "He said, 'Oh, what's the big deal? Let her sleep it off.' And then he hung up."

In a city famous for tolerating pot consumption of all varieties, this Inner Parkside family's ordeal was a reminder that neither bud nor its users are always kind.

About The Author

Peter Jamison


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