September 29, 2020

BY NATHAN BROWN

Two public works staff were fired by the City of Hamilton on Jan. 14 after they brought pot brownies to a public works yard, and shared them with an unknowing co-worker.

These two workers, who were described as “seasoned” public works employees, had previously been suspended by the city on Dec. 22 because they were suspected of bringing similar banned baked goods to a public works yard.

An article in the Waterloo Region Record said the 20-year-old worker who unknowingly ate the drugs had no idea what he was doing or where he was. The worker was driven from the yard and then taken to hospital by ambulance.

The Record reported that the workers found responsible were fired for possession and use of illegal drugs on city property and in city vehicles.

This brings up numerous concerns. City workers are everywhere, doing different things everyday from filling potholes to clearing ditches. What if these aren’t the only two doing this, or others are going to work high? If a city worker is on drugs and is operating heavy machinery to try and fix the city, he is not only putting himself at risk but the public as well.

Hamilton police investigated the incident but decided there was “insufficient evidence” to lay charges. We believe that the employees’ firing should have only been the first step, with criminal charges being laid for deceiving and endangering their co-worker.

Marijuana affects the body in different ways, whether it’s eaten or smoked. Although Dr. Mitchell Levine told CBC Hamilton that it is “extremely unlikely that a person could die from eating marijuana,” the city’s concern was that the unsuspecting worker was put in harm’s way.

“The fear that can occur when you don’t know what’s happening to you can be a total panic attack,” Levine told the CBC. Also, a person is impaired and shouldn’t be using heavy machinery.

It’ll be interesting to see if the City of Hamilton rewrites its definition of food, and outlines exactly what can be brought onto the premises. It will also be interesting to see what parameters are put into place so that this doesn’t happen to another unsuspecting employee.

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