A New Brunswick Mountie who was stripped of his police uniform last week after he publicly smoked medical marijuana while wearing his red serge wants to assure people he is "doing fine."
Cpl. Ron Francis, who serves with J Division in Fredericton, says some people have expressed concern about his mental well being since his story attracted national attention.
"I have friends and family and my [Maliseet First Nations] elder to guide me through this," he said in an email to CBC News over the weekend.
"I will not harm myself or anyone else, so please do not worry," said Francis, a 21-year veteran of the RCMP, who had his regular work uniform seized from his home at Kingsclear First Nation on Thursday and was ordered to turn in his red serge uniform on Friday.
"I would be worried for the other Canadians who are RCMP members that are not getting help," he said.
Francis, who still has his badge, but is on medical leave, says medical-grade marijuana has helped reduce his post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and calm him down.
His prescription, obtained on Nov. 4, allows for three grams a day, which he estimates to be nine to 15 joints, though he has said he doesn’t typically smoke that much.
The case has sparked outrage among some Maritimers, who called in to CBC's Maritime Connection program on Sunday.
Bill Smith, of Halifax, said he was charged with trafficking 10 years ago when police found him on the beach with five grams of pot.
"Until this day, I cannot enter the United States. So it's just absolute hypocrisy," he said.
Janice Jewett, of Moncton, says regardless of the health benefits, marijuana use sets a bad example.
"I'm wondering what type of message this sends to young people when they go by a police station and see a Mountie smoking marijuana," she said.
But Veronica Sherwood, of Halifax, says the negative stigma around marijuana makes it difficult for people who use the drug to relieve everything from anxiety to chronic pain.
"So it's this awful stereotype of, 'He's getting high.' I see where it's coming from, but … it's not informed."
Adam Greenblatt, executive director of of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries, says marijuana laws need to be reformed.
"As long as we're sending contradictory messages around medical marijuana and recreational marijuana, this debate is going to be confusing and this medical need is not going to be accommodated," he said.