In Canada, smoking prescription marijuana for medical purposes has been a swiftly growing trend in relief for stress and pain. But for the Mounties, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are taking a firm stance that smoking pot is not okay while officers are in uniform.
Cpl. Ronald Francis is a part of the RCMP in New Brunswick, and has been struggling with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during his service with the RCMP. On November 4, he finally received a prescription allowing him three grams of pot a day. Three grams of pot roughly translates into somewhere between nine to 15 joints depending the skill of the person rolling it.
For this Mountie, smoking pot has already become a part of his daily routine that he has confirmed to be completely life changing. As of right now, Francis claims that he currently only has about 3 joints per day as his body adjusts to the intake of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound in marijuana that causes relaxation). However, as his immunity to the THC increases he may have to up his dosage.
As of right now there are no rules prohibiting Mounties from smoking while in uniform, nor are there any regulations that dictate whether an officer can consume marijuana. But the RCMP is currently reviewing their policies to see whether smoking pot while in uniform should be a different story.
To Canadian citizens, and the world, the Mounties are meant to be a symbol of what it means to be Canadian. Concerns are arising that officers wearing the red serge, will give the public the wrong impression regarding the RCMP’s stance on drug abuse. RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gilles Moreau is sympathetic to Francis’ condition and has acknowledged that it is important to accommodate the medical requirements of his officers but feels this is where the line must be drawn.
The RCMP retains the right to seek secondary opinions for any members that have been given the green-light by a physician for smoking pot. Further more, limitations will be put in place on the officers if they are deemed as having their decision making or motor skills as having been compromised by the prescription.
Francis is currently on administrative duties, and has stated that given his low levels of self-medication that he is completely capable of performing his required tasks. Despite the serious encouragement of his superiors, Francis has no intention of stopping his stress relief routine while at work. His need to seek treatment began 8 years ago from the stress he incurred from the job. After several attempts with anti-depressants, after nearly a decade of failed medications, Francis feels this is his best chance of relief.
Access to medical marijuana has been available and regulated in Canada since July 2001 by Health Canada. If physicians feel it is appropriate patients with either severe pain, seizures or nausea from either HIV/AIDS treatment or cancer treatment qualify for prescriptions. Additionally, those that are under compassionate care with debilitating symptoms have also been cleared for smoking pot.
Although marijuana legislation has been a hot topic for decades, in more recent months however, the limits of what is considered acceptable under the current federal laws has come up for debate more than ever. One thing is for sure, the RCMP is firm that smoking pot is absolutely not okay while in uniform.
By Romana Outerbridge
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