Poppy seed defense rejected

LIHUE — A Lihue man who said he failed a recent drug test because he ate poppy seed muffins was sentenced to a year in jail after he tested positive for marijuana while on supervised release.

Brandon Vidinha, 33, was discharged from a treatment facility on Feb. 22 after testing positive for THC, but just one week later he tested negative for THC at Kauai Community Correctional Center. He then tested negative a second time.

His public defender argued Wednesday that Vidinha could not have taken any drugs because he tested negative twice after being discharged and that THC stays in the fat cells for at least 30 days.

Vidinha told the court he was served muffins with poppy seeds in them at the treatment center before being tested and that the test was a false positive. He never put any drugs into his mouth or smoked marijuana, he said.

Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe was not convinced.

“That’s your position?” she said. “You ate the muffins with the poppy seeds?”

Dr. Amy Brown, a registered dietitian and associate professor of complementary and alternative medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said it is possible for food with poppy seeds to make someone fail a drug test.

However, the person would test positive for opiates, such as heroin, morphine and codeine, she said. She did not specify if that person could test positive for THC.

Vidinha was originally charged with promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree and drug paraphernalia, both class C felonies. The drug paraphernalia charge was dropped when Vidinha pleaded no contest to the first count on Nov. 25 after accepting a plea agreement from the state.

The state said Vidinha’s defense was not credible when he said the jacket with two pipes in it was not his.

First Deputy Prosecuting Attoney Jennifer Winn requested that Vidinha be sentenced to one year in jail and probation. The judge agreed due to the three felony convictions on his record.


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