A Canadian soldier faces court martial after allegedly serving cannabis cupcakes to unwitting members of his artillery unit during a live fire exercise.
Bomber Chelsea Cogswell faces 18 charges for her baking, including administering a noxious substance and disgraceful behavior.
Cogswell, who has served in the Canadian Army since 2011, worked in the Canteen for several weeks “Exercise Common Gunner” at a military base in Gagetown, New Brunswick, in July 2018. The event is part of the Artillery Royal Canadian School officers training.
Cogswell is accused of baking the cupcakes while working in the canteen and distributing them to unsuspecting members of her artillery battery. She has not publicly commented on the matter.
“All of the W Battery members who consumed the cupcakes, except one, reportedly experienced symptoms such as dehydration, overheating, fatigue, confusion, dry mouth and paranoia,” according to court documents.
Footage from the “Common Gunner Exercise” shows troops, including W Battery, firing howitzers with 155mm rounds.
“Several affected members were reportedly unable to properly perform safe weapons and explosives drills,” wrote Commander Sandra Sukstorf, a military judge. “That afternoon, the affected limbs were treated by a medical technician and the military police were called.
The incident would be the first time a member of the Canadian Forces has been accused of administering cannabis to colleagues without their consent, a military spokesperson told CTV News.
Canada legalized recreational cannabis in October 2018, three months after Cogswell was accused of baking the cupcakes. Canadian Army soldiers are now allowed to consume cannabis, but they are barred from doing so at least 24 hours before using a weapon or vehicle and eight hours before service.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, Cogswell faces a maximum of two years for administering a noxious substance and “shamefully dismissing” from the military under the National Defense Act.
Cogswell was due to face a court martial last year, but hearings have since been delayed due to coronavirus restrictions, a change of lawyer and a court challenge.
His court martial is now scheduled for August 3, 2021 in Oromocto, New Brunswick.