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The Week In Review: Our False Piety About Pot

This week we learned of the case of an RCMP officer who has a prescription for medical marijuana to treat his PTSD. The RCMP says he can't smoke his medicinal pot while in uniform or in public, but he says he has a right to do so. It's a legal and legitimate medical treatment, after all. (Though try explaining that to a pot-grower who gets sent to prison after being raided by a Mountie with a joint hanging out of his mouth.) The RCMP and this officer could probably compromise, perhaps by having the officer ingest his pot in benign-looking baked goods. But our inconsistent and hypocritical approach to marijuana is not so easily solved.

So are we okay with pot or aren't we? The possession, sale and production of marijuana remain illegal in Canada, but we make an exception for people who have medical authorization to use the drug for medicinal reasons. The result? Mixed messages. At the same time that Canadian police are making about 78,000 marijuana-related arrests a year, Canadian doctors are prescribing marijuana for over 30,000 patients.

The incongruity was brought into high relief this week by the case of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer who has a prescription for medical marijuana to treat his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The RCMP says he can't smoke his medicinal pot while in uniform or in public, but he says he has a right to do so. It's a legal and legitimate medical treatment, after all. (Though try explaining that to the pot-grower who's getting sent to prison after being raided by a Mountie with a joint hanging out of his mouth.)

Realistically, there are probably ways the RCMP and this officer could compromise to make this particular situation work. If optics are the issue for the force, as they seem to be, why not simply have the officer consume the marijuana in a harmless looking baked good, rather than him smoking joints while in red serge. Or if there's proof that the officer's functioning on the job is being negatively impacted by the drugs, then put him on medical leave so he can receive the treatment he needs.

Unfortunately the deeper issue this conflict highlights -- our inconsistent and hypocritical approach to marijuana -- is not so easily solved.

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