Hallucinogenic chocolates doom Berlin sweet shop

In a scene seemingly straight out of the TV show, Weeds, Reuters reports that police closed down a Berlin sweet shop after discovering the owner was selling chocolates and lollipops laced with hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana.

The 23-year old owner of the shop in the trendy east Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg, an area known for its vibrant night life, was taken into custody on suspicion of drug-dealing.

"In the shop we found 120 pieces of magic mushroom chocolate and countless cannabis lollipops," said police, who confiscated around 70 sachets containing various drugs, about 20 marijuana joints, a range of pills and some jars of drug-laced honey.

Going poop in public — Rocky Mountain Chocolate edition

With four daughters, I’ve changed a lot of diapers over the years.

Almost all the diapers were cloth; at least for the first two children. Then, after too many green apple splatters seeping through, migrated to the seemingly more absorbent disposable diaper.

And then there were the emergency dumps that, well, we’ve all had, regardless of age. On Weeds last night, Nancy Botwin, played by Mary Louise Parker (right), peed into a cup while waiting to cross the Mexican-U.S. border.

Sometimes it’s not nearly that neat.

A reader told The Consumerist yesterday that,

"Last night we were out with friends and went to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory at Bella Terra/Huntington Beach. We were eating outside as my 5 year old daughter got an uncontrollable urge to use the bathroom and began crying and screaming ‘diarrhea, diarrhea.’ I ran into the store with her in my arms, begging to use the bathroom and they refused multiple times.

“I explained she had diarrhea and couldn’t hold it and told them she was about to go on the floor. They refused again and never offered me any alternatives. I begged them to have a heart and that she was 5 but by that time she had lost it all over herself and me. I ran with her in my arms to the movie theater that let me use their bathroom. I cleaned her up, threw out some of her clothes and went back to the Chocolate Factory – asking for names and number of management. I again pleaded with them to use their heart in situations like this.”

Almost a year ago, a similar incident happened at a Jo-Ann Fabrics in Indiana. With similar results.

Today, California’s Orange County Register reported that officials with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory issued an apology, and that the story sparked a backlash that led to death threats, according to store owner, Bonnie Overturf, who was not there during the incident last Thursday.

Overturf said her employees were following insurance policies for her store, and there were at least a dozen restrooms near the store the mother could have used.

Bryan Merryman, chief operating officer for the Colorado-based candy company, issued an apology to the mother Tuesday, saying "the actions of one franchised store’s employees do not represent the values of the company … We truly regret this situation occurred."

"We are a very family friendly company and would never encourage any policy that does not take individual facts and circumstances into account,” he wrote.

Overturf, who said she apologized to the mother earlier, contacted police once death threats began and her home address was posted on an unknown Website. People also threatened to throw feces at her home, she said.

People shouldn’t throw piles of shit at store owners and their homes; or leave burning bags of poop on the front step. Poop is the source of many pathogens, stores are not all equipped to handle public poop, and some people don’t clean up after themselves (or pick up their dog’s shit).

But when kids (or others) gotta go, it’s better to isolate the mess to a bathroom.

I’ve cleaned up lots of shit. And expect lots more.


The name of a popular series on Showtime, Weeds, is also now becoming a popular part of haute cuisine in France. On June 7, 2007, on France 2’s “Envoyé special” (a show like 20/20 or 60-minutes in the U.S.), one of the segments was dedicated to the use of “herbes sauvages” or wild herbs in France’s top 3-star restaurants. The reporters followed a member of the Radio France chorus who picked weeds right in Paris, tasted and explained them, and then carried them to her favorite 3-star chef. After demonstrating how fine tastes can come from these strangely exotic yet common weeds, they were off to a farm in Brittany where one woman specializes in growing weeds. She used to grow grains but when she recognized the profitability of this niche market, she switched. Her farm now has an annual income of over €200,000 a year – for picking, packing, selling and shipping dandelion leaves and the like. There’s even a workshop led in Switzerland where you can go around picking wild herbs in the mountains all day and then come back and learn how to make them into pesto and flan. Not to fear, the French are well aware that some herbs are toxic. But they put it into perspective: we eat potatoes, but the leaves are dangerous to eat. Same with rhubarb – never eat the leaves. One man was ready to pop a “bouton d’or” (buttercup) into his mouth when his instructor yelled out, “Non!” The 3-star chef assured that when he had questions about an item, he contacted his friend the horticulturalist to be on the safe side.

This program brought two things to my attention. The French think that the dangerous side of food is sexy, but there’s more to food safety than avoiding inherently toxic foods. At no point did anyone discuss the conditions in which the herbs were grown. As Doug and I wrote in our doggy-dining article … there is dog poop all over Paris and the rest of France. If there’s a patch of grass somewhere, it’s very likely that a cat or dog (or human) is also using this spot for relief. That’s quite a lot less sexy to think about than the perils of eating such refined foods as weeds. One aspiring chef said that everyone made fun of her … everyone asked her the same questions about knowing if the weeds were dangerous or not. She never mentioned if she thought that dog, cat, mouse, bird, or turtle poop might be on the herbs she’s putting primarily into fresh salads and uncooked sauces.