RCMP Cpl. Ron Francis smokes marijuana every day to help him deal with PTSD. (CBC)
A Mountie who smokes medical marijuana everyday while at work in uniform does not respect the RCMP or Canadians and should either stop it or leave the force, say CBCNews.ca readers.
The majority of people commenting on a CBC article about New Brunswick-based Cpl. Ron Francis were sympathetic toward the officer, who smokes pot to battle post-traumatic stress disorder. He just received his prescription earlier this month.
However, readers felt that if Francis was ill enough to need to smoke at work, he should not be working at all.
"If he's gotta blaze up just to make his stress bearable it might be time to think about a different career, perhaps one less prone to periodic bouts of extreme stress, for example," wrote cousin . it.
"I feel for this gentleman. Is it a valid medical treatment? Yes, of course. Is it legal to obtain and use as per his prescription? Absolutely. However, it is a drug. Just like many other prescriptions it inhibits his judgment," wrote Melissa Langmaid. "If he is not able to work an eight-hour day without this specific form of medication, then I personally believe that it may be time to look into some extended medical leave options for this gentleman."
"This is a disgrace. I find it appalling, disgusting and disgraceful. The man doesn't deserve to be wearing the RCMP uniform," wrote Halifax-Rezdent.
Commenter BCgirlinSK added that she has no problem with Francis needing medical marijuana, but "I do however have an issue with people thinking they can do whatever they want with no regard to the people around them and their professional image."
"This man is an RCMP officer and should have more respect for his red serge than he does. ... As well, I HATE the smell of marijuana and would be very upset working with someone smelling like stale pot smoke. My coworker is actually allergic to THC [tetrahydrocannabinol] -- think of the implications this could cause. It's not like taking other forms of medication, it affects others physically and mentally."
Are there no alternatives?
The entire issue is not black and white. In a CBCNews.ca poll with nearly 20,000 votes, as of Thursday afternoon, just 55 per cent of readers say Francis should not be allowed to smoke on the job, while 44 per cent yes he should.
Similar to the poll, the comments in the CBC article on the officer's situation was similarly split. Although most people said he should not be allowed, many other people spoke out in his support.
Some CBCNews.ca readers even suggested different ways the RCMP could handle the situation without banning the smoking outright.
"There are alternatives. Cannabis can be eaten in capsule form, or cooked into cookies," wrote DonXaliman.
Added commenter TariAkpodiete: "Why can't he eat it, like in a brownie?"
"No he shouldn't smoke pot in uniform. However, he should be allowed to smoke during working hours, i.e. breaks/lunch," wrote lizardlips. "To solve the problem he should be allowed to work in civvies [civilian clothes] instead of uniform."
Some people, though, said anyone in police uniform should not smoke, period.
"I don't at all have an issue with pot, but I do have an issue with any law enforcement smoking anything in public while on the job. Whether it's pot, cigarettes or cigars doesn't matter to me. Cops should not smoke in public while in uniform," wrote algaediesel.
What do you think? As always, we appreciate your comments and invite you to continue the conversation below.
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