Cpl. Ronald Francis is a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Offficer from the J Divison in New Brunswick who suffers from post-tramuatic stress disorder, for which he has been prescribed medical marijuana. Over the past couple of weeks, Francis, a 21-year veteran of the force, has been engaged in a contentious debate with his employers over whether or not he has the right to smoke his mediincial marijuana in his RCMP uniform.
Earlier this week, the case became public when Francis took his story to CBC News and explained his routine, which includes a proper wake and bake. “I get up in the morning, have my coffee and the marijuana. I go at lunch time, have a marijuana joint, and then again in the evening. That would be my medical regime,” he said.
Francis asserts that there’s no specific RCMP policy against him smoking a joint in his uniform in public. While the RCMP does not dispute his claim, they have issues with an RCMP officer publically doing something usually associated with your favourite rap videos and delivery pizzas. “Definitely a member that has been prescribed medicinal marijuana should not be in the red serge taking his medication,” said Gilles Moreau, an RCMP assistant. “It would not be advisable for that member, it would not portray the right message to the general public, it’s definitely not something we would condone.”
Despite this, the RCMP says it is okay with an officer using medicinal marijuana while on duty, but it reserves the right to restrict the officer’s responsibilities, like carrying a weapon or driving a vehicle. Francis is already on administrative duty, limiting his duties.
Still, things came to a head last night. Two RCMP officers arrived at Francis’s home at Kingsclear First Nation demanding he turn over his regular working uniform and “anything that identified [him] as a member of the RCMP.”
In a harrowing video shot by Francis’s cousin and sent to CBC News, a distraught and crying Francis vents while gathering his RCMP garments. “They’re fucking coming to take my uniforms, fuck them,” he says over the phone to a friend. “Ask them how to ask how my fucking children feel. Fuck their image.”
The video is uncomfortable and gripping watch. To view it, visit CBC News.
Jordan Sowunmi is a writer and editor at the Toronto Standard. He is on Twitter: @jordanisjoso