12/10/2013 01:57 EST | Updated 02/09/2014 05:59 EST

Pot-Smoking Mountie Charged With Assault

A New Brunswick Mountie who made national headlines last month for publicly smoking medical marijuana while in uniform has been charged with assaulting a fellow officer.

Cpl. Ron Francis was arrested in Fredericton last Friday and remains in custody after appearing in provincial court on Saturday, CBC News has confirmed.

The 21-year veteran of the RCMP has been ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric assessment at the Restigouche Hospital Center in Campbellton to determine if he can be held responsible for the charge against him.

He is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 6.

Francis serves with J Division in Fredericton, but is on medical leave. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which he says is work-related.

He received a prescription for medical-grade marijuana on Nov. 4, and says the drug has helped reduce his PTSD symptoms and calm him down.

Francis contends he should be able to smoke the drug while in uniform and did so publicly, defying RCMP bosses.

Mounties promptly seized his regular work uniform from his Kingsclear First Nation home on Nov. 28 and he turned in his red serge uniform the following day, as instructed.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson told a House of Commons committee last week the force tried to discourage Francis from going public.

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