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An experienced artillery bombardier is facing a court-martial after organising the food for a live-fire exercise that descended into drug-fuelled chaos.
Court documents allege that bombardier Chelsea Cogswell supplied fellow troops with cannabis-laced cupcakes at the army’s Combat Training Centre at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick.
The artillerymen reported a sudden onset of "paranoia, fatigue and confusion” after eating the cakes during the exercise, in which howitzers fired live 155mm rounds.
In July 2018 Cogswell was assigned to canteen duty during Exercise Common Gunner, an intensive three-week combat training scenario with the Royal Canadian Artillery School.
Prosecutors allege that Cogswell prepared a batch of cupcakes and distributed them to colleagues in her artillery battery.
"All the members of W Battery who consumed the cupcakes, except one, allegedly experienced symptoms which included dehydration, overheating, fatigue, confusion, dry mouth and paranoia,” the court affidavit states.
"Several affected members were allegedly unable to properly execute safe weapons and explosive handling drills,” the court documents continued.
Following the artillerymens’ reports, medical staff treated all of the troops who reported symptoms of intoxication and the military police were called.
"A review of our court martial records indicate that this is the first time a member has faced a court martial for allegedly administering cannabis to colleagues without their consent," Canadian Army spokesperson Wendy Wharton told CTV News.
Bombardier Cogswell, who joined the army in 2011, faces a total of 18 charges, including eight counts of administering a noxious substance, nine counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline, and one count of behaving in a disgraceful manner.
Recreational cannabis is now legal in Canada, following legislation passed in October 2018, three months after the alleged offence.
Soldiers in the Canadian military are allowed to use cannabis, but are not allowed to do so for 24 hours before going active duty.
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