Troops in Canada were going to fire artillery on July 21, 2018. But then they got high.
That’s essentially what happened to soldiers assigned to W Battery of the Royal Regiment of the Canadian Artillery School, who were scheduled to conduct a live fire training joint on that clear summer day in Gagetown, New Brunswick, according to court documents. But plans changed after a soldier named Chelsea Cogswell allegedly baked weed-infused cupcakes and handed them out to several soldiers to mark the occasion.
“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,” court documents state. “Several affected members were allegedly unable to properly execute safe weapons and explosive handling drills. That afternoon, the affected members were treated by a medical technician and the military police were called.”
Let’s hope the medical technician treated them with a healthy serving of poutine, considering that the most common side effects of using marijuana are feeling sleepy, happy, or hungry.
Cogswell, a bombardier (the equivalent to a corporal in the U.S. Army) who was working in the canteen that day, has been hit with 18 charges including “administering a noxious thing” and “neglect to the prejudice of good order and discipline.” Prosecutors say Cogswell prepared the dank cupcakes and gave them to her unsuspecting colleagues.
So it finally happened: We have the first known example of Canadian soldiers getting stoned on duty about three years after our northern neighbors began allowing service members to consume marijuana in their free time. But as court documents show, the incident occurred months before the policy change and, perhaps most importantly, getting colleagues stoned without their knowledge remains a no-no.
“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 military spokesperson Wendy Wharton told CTV News.
The Canadian military outlined new marijuana-related rules in October 2018 following the country’s legalization of recreational use for its citizens. The new policy allowed Canadian service members to consume the chronic at least eight hours before duty, 24 hours before the operation of weapons or vehicles, or 28 days before high altitude skydives, military flights, or operations in a hyperbaric environment.
Naturally, the Task & Purpose team couldn’t help but see the parallels between the scene described in the court documents, and another scenario in which smoking pot derailed one’s plans (with considerable consequences). We are of course talking about Afroman’s 2000 stoner ballad, “Because I Got High.”
We changed up the lyrics a bit:
♫ I was gonna go and train, until I got high / I was gonna find the target’s range, but then I got high / My brain’s all messed up, and I know why (Why man?) / ‘Cause I got high / Because I got high / Because I got high
I was gonna to the range class / and I coulda passed / But, I’m taking it again next month, and I know why (Why man?) / ‘Cause I got high / Because I got high/ Because I got high
I was gonna send some rounds, but then I got high / They were gonna call a fire mission, until I was high / Now I’m taking a piss test, and I know why (Why man?) / ‘Cause I got high / Because I got high / Because I got high
I was gonna return to work but then I got high (ohh, ohh) / I just got a new promotion but I got high (la da da da da) / Now I’m get’n busted down, and I know why (Why man?) / ‘Cause I got high / Because I got high / Because I got high…♫
A court martial for Cogswell is scheduled for August, according to CTV, which said she faces up to two years in prison. Her attorney is likely going to poke and toke at the government’s case to try and burn it down.
James Clark contributed song lyrics.