Pot-smoking Mountie returns serge, accuses RCMP of not helping members with PTSD - Macleans.ca

Pot-smoking Mountie returns serge, accuses RCMP of not helping members with PTSD


FREDERICTON – A New Brunswick Mountie who has run afoul of a policy that says RCMP officers can’t smoke medicinal marijuana while in uniform has returned his red serge and accused the government and the force of not doing enough to support RCMP members with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Cpl. Ron Francis wept as he arrived Friday at the RCMP headquarters in Fredericton after he said he was ordered to return the dress uniform.

“Members of the RCMP are not sacrificial to the government or to the organization,” Francis said.

“They are people and they deserve the right to be protected while they go to work and be taken care of by the Canadian public that they defend.”

But he did not return a 20-year exemplary service medal, removing it before handing over the iconic Mountie uniform, hat and boots.

“They can have their uniforms, but this is my medal. I earned this with my blood, my sweat, my tears,” he said.

“I have not one flaw on my service record. My only flaw is I stuck up for the Canadian people.”

The RCMP says its officers who are prescribed medicinal marijuana should not be in red serge or regular uniform while taking their medication as it would not portray the right message to the public.

The force has declined interview requests but said in an email Thursday that it continuously looks at strengthening supports for officers with operational stress injuries and is looking at its policies to define how it manages members who have been prescribed medicinal marijuana.

But Imelda Perley, a Maliseet elder who accompanied Francis on Friday, said the RCMP did not do enough to help Francis deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I think they have a responsibility to all their RCMP officers, whether they are aboriginal or non-aboriginal, to give alternative ways of looking at who they are and not what they are supposed to do,” Perley said.

Conservative MP Erin O’Toole, a former captain with the Royal Canadian Air Force, said he believes the RCMP were justified in ordering Francis to return his uniform.

“I think reasonable accommodation should be given, and I think the Mounties were providing that to him,” O’Toole said in Ottawa.

“Having worn a uniform myself, I think they made the right decision. And I think he should accept that as well because if you’re part of an institution like that, whether it’s the Canadian Forces or the RCMP, you have to understand the importance of the values and respect that the uniforms — in particular the red serge, one of Canada’s probably most respected world images — you have to preserve that.”

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Pot-smoking Mountie returns serge, accuses RCMP of not helping members with PTSD

  1. Same argument the RCMP had for keeping women and Sikhs out.

    • Well, you know these gals and their special needs. I mean, for one week a month, their judgement cannot be trusted. Luckily, they can be put on administrative duties while they take their ‘medicine’ — you know, Midol and what not. Tsk tsk.

      • Yeah, same paleolithic thinking as that.

    • No since being a Sikh or a women isn’t illegal under any circumstances. Possession of a narcotic is and although he found a doctor who would prescribe it (most won’t) it doesn’t change the fact that members in uniform smoking dope is a very negative image for most taxpayers.

      • It’s not a narcotic….it IS prescription medicine….and it can be taken in tablet form for that matter. Plus…he wasn’t on the street, he was doing admin work.

        Most taxpayers want it legalized.

        • The photo of him is on the street in red serge. Cannabis is a narcotic prescribed or not. Whether taxpayers want it legalized is irrelevant to the question of enforcing RCMP standards. If he was doing admin work where did he smoke? Just outside the building or does his medical condition make smoking at his desk permissible?

          • Are the RCMP so inept they didn’t see potential problems and sort them out before now? And do you not see that smoking while the wearing his dress uniform was a protest to attract attention to the problems in treatment of him and others like him?

          • The problem is not with the R.C.M.P. it is with US who do NOT

            push to have Pot being legalized as with tobacco (an extremely addictive drug) and booze.
            The R.C.M.P. DO NOT create the laws they only enforce the one`s on the books( even if they are stupid and impractical)

          • Alcohol….tobacco…are ‘narcotics’…and most people smoke cigs outside these days.

          • No. Narcotics are drugs defined as such under criminal law. Cannabis is narcotic. Tobacco & alcohol aren’t.

          • Depends on whose rules you go by….in any case, time to stop the silliness and un-ban drugs.

        • Whether or not the public want it legalized is not what the story is about. It is about a RCMP member smoking a J in public while in dress uniform. The RCMP specifically told him not to. He disobeyed that order and is now facing the consequences. Emily as a former member of the CAF you should know about dress and deportment while in uniform, especially when out in public.

          • It’s a protest, Bob.

          • he was allowed to smoke as much as he was prescribed, he was not allowed to smoke it in red serge. I only see defiance and disobeying a command.

          • For the nth time….he was protesting

      • Killing people in airports with a taser gun isn’t either. Or harassing women officers and giving them nothing but grief when they complain. Or refusing to follow the FOI laws. The RCMP already has an image problem.

  2. He was provided with more than due accommodation by being allowed to remain on the job while toking up with his ‘medicine’ The ONLY request made by the employer was he not do it in uniform and even that he was not able to do. I suspect he has another agenda, but that is not the issue. Stress is a difficult disability to address because individuals react different to the same stressor. His doctor recommended he smoke, his employer accepted that and put him on admin duties (because who wants a police officer’s judgement coming into question if any of his actions in the field was being reviewed during a trial by a defense lawyer. But instead he wanted to push some issue. Employers do not have to follow every whim of an employee because they don’t feel that he is being treated ‘fairly’.

    • So is he allowed to come to work in his civvies?

      • He’s on sick leave now. Less than four years of that until he hits 25 years service then he gets his pension without penalty. Disability payments on top. Perhaps laying the ground work for a complaint of racism. He should come out of this with annual payments of more than 100% of his current salary. Clever in a way.

        • Administrative duties is sick leave?

          • No. He was doing administrative duties but since this latest stunt is on sick leave.

    • Nice scare quotes around medicine.

      • It’s probably in quotation marks because most people and most MDs consider “medical marijuana” to be a scam designed to open the door for legalization. I think dope should be legal but I think it has no more medicinal value than Scotch.

        • Yeah, we should continue to use only drugs created by chemists for pharma companies that lobby the government to approve and pay for them. What you think about dope really doesn’t mean anymore to me than what I think about dope should mean to you.

        • That is your opinion. This government has just gone big time to licence growers and regulate distribution – medical marijuana is totally legal in Canada. Meanwhile Health Canada has done nothing to control the prescription side. Well managed eh?

  3. Isn’t that the same uniform they licensed to disneyland?

  4. This individual should be retired with a full pension. He is NOT fit for duty.
    Besides breaking drugs laws(admittedly stupid one`s) Smoking an illegal substance while wearing the R.C.M.P. uniform is NOT ACCEPTABLE(permit or not!!)

  5. I am 100% for decriminalization of the demon weed, and about 98% for full blown legalization.

    Having said that, the story I saw on the National stated that the Mountie was smoking 9 to 15 joints per day. Given that it’s illegal to drive a car under the influence of weed (*), and given that 9 to 15 joints is a hellacious amount of weed to be taking on a daily basis, and given that he was toking on the job, I’m wondering how on earth he would actually be able to carry out his workplace responsibilities

    IMO, it would be one thing if after a smoke-free day at work, he went home and lit up a joint or 2 or even 3; but this is something far different from that scenario.

    I think the person who said he should be retired off at full pension may have the right idea.

    (*) I realize the Mountie had a desk-job, however, the point is that if you’re not even considered to be competent to carry out a fairly mechanical endeavour like driving a car while under the influence, it makes me wonder how you could be competent to carry out activities that require any real thinking.