Ford SA Allows Its
Employees To Smoke Pot


PRETORIA, South Africa (Reuters) - It was a moment that could only happen when a rock star and a former captain of industry team up to check out operations in an industrial plant.
As Irish rocker Bono and U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill toured a huge Ford Motor Co. plant near Pretoria on Friday, the pungent odour of marijuana smoke attracted the attention of some of their entourage.
A Ford representative confirmed some of the 3,500 employees at the cavernous plant did smoke the herb.
The plant was described by Ford as the largest assembly plant in the Southern Hemisphere. It was one O'Neill wanted to highlight for having a model plan to test and offer treatment for HIV/AIDS-afflicted workers.
When a reporter asked a Ford official whether marijuana smoking affected efficiency, both Bono and O'Neill expressed interest that some workers smoked it.
"They do?" a surprised O'Neill interjected. "What do I know? That's something I don't know anything about."
The Ford official said the practice was not unusual at a huge industrial plant and indicated there was some tolerance as long as safety was not jeopardised.
Bono took it coolly.
"I was getting off on the diesel fumes myself," he joked.
The two are halfway through a four-country tour of Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia, meeting government officials but also touring businesses, hospitals and schools.
They spent part of Friday afternoon in impoverished Soweto, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Their mission is to find out why so much past aid spending so little advanced living conditions and how that might be changed in future.


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