Thursday, 28 November 2013

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em?

Why is it when drugs are involved, people suddenly get stupid?

"A veteran RCMP officer was stripped of his uniform and chastised by the federal justice minister Thursday after he was filmed smoking medical marijuana in what he said was a bid to to raise awareness about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the RCMP."

And doubling down we have Justice Minister Peter MacKay:
An RCMP officer smoking marijuana while in uniform “sets a very poor example for Canadians,” “My observation is the same as for politicians, police: They fall in a similar category in the sense that ,it sets a very poor example to flout the law,” MacKay said in an interview Thursday. “It sets a very poor example for Canadians.”

To be absolutely clear here, there's nothing illegal about what Cpl. Ronald Francis was doing. He has a medical marijuana prescription. Peter MacKay is playing the Conservative Party of Canada "Stupid Outrage beats Facts" trump card.

But to be honest, Cpl. Francis's position isn't entirely logical either: “There’s no policy in the RCMP that prevents me from smoking marijuana. There’s no policy in the RCMP that says I cannot smoke in public. I have the right to smoke it in my red serge.”

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Regulations, 1988


51. (1) A member shall not

(a) while on duty, consume, possess or be under the influence of alcohol or a drug or any other behaviour altering substance, except as required or permitted in the performance of a specific duty or as authorized for personal use pursuant to a medical prescription; or

(b) report for duty while under the influence of alcohol or a drug or any other behaviour altering substance, except as authorized for personal use pursuant to a medical prescription.

52. A member shall not

(a) use any controlled or restricted drug set out respectively in Schedules G and H to the Food and Drugs Act, or any narcotic set out in the schedule to the Narcotic Control Act, except as authorized for personal use pursuant to a medical prescription; or

(b) possess any controlled or restricted drug set out respectively in Schedules G and H to the Food and Drugs Act, or a narcotic set out in the schedule to the Narcotic Control Act, except as required or permitted in the performance of the member’s duties or as authorized for personal use pursuant to a medical prescription.


I think it is entirely sensible to interpret that to mean that a supervisor must authorize the duties an officer may perform when that officer may be under the influence of any behaviour altering substance. The public, and fellow officers must be confident that any officer they come in contact with is fully capable of performing their duties. Anything that may impair that could be justification for putting that officer on desk duty, or other administrative duties. This applies to pain medication, anti-depressants and yes, marijuana. Hell, if the officer had a prescription for 3 beers a day, this wouldn't even be a public discussion; that officer would be on desk duty, and that would be the end of it.

So in this instance, the RCMP just needs to treat medical marijuana the same way they would treat any other behaviour altering medical prescription, on a case-by-case basis. And the officer with that prescription needs to shut-up and do the job assigned to them.

Oh and CBC, this is the poll you choose?






Smack yourself with the stupid bat, this isn't a "public image" problem, this is a "is he capable of performing his duties?" problem. Marijuana or Codeine, I don't care which drug is prescribed, I just want Police departments to ensure their officers are fully capable of doing their jobs safely and effectively.







1 comment:

Ken Breadner said...

Conservatives will never accept drugs. Never. They're illegal, you see. And anything illegal is obviously a BAD THING, or it wouldn't be illegal. I've tried to jink around that brick wall in their thinking. I can't do it. It's illegal, therefore it's bad.