A Canadian soldier faces up to five years in prison after being found guilty of feeding her comrades with cannabis cupcakes during a live-fire training exercise.
Military Judge Commander Sandra Sukstorf found Bombardier Chelsea Cogswell guilty on Aug. 18 of eight counts of administering a noxious substance to her fellow troops without their consent and one count of behaving in a disgraceful manner.
The eight soldiers reported feeling intoxicated, anxious, and paranoid while handling weapons after eating the cupcakes given to them by Cogswell at the Gagetown base in New Brunswick in July 2018.
Five of the soldiers later tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a substance of cannabis. Military police also then found traces of THC in a cupcake wrapper recovered from the scene.
Cogswell committed the crime three months before Canada legalized cannabis for recreational use. She had access to medical marijuana at the time because she used it as a sleep aid.
Sukstorf described Cogswell’s conduct as “shockingly unacceptable” and said that her actions could have led to the death of her colleagues.
Sukstorf said that Cogswell’s statements to police during the investigation in 2018 showed that she had a reason to be upset with members of her unit that could have motivated her actions.
Cogswell’s case marks the first time a Canadian soldier has faced a court martial for administering cannabis to colleagues without their consent.
Cogswell faces sentencing in November.
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