Written by Rachel Browne for Vice News.
Medical marijuana use is taking root in Canada’s federal police force.
Over the last year, the number of active and former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who got reimbursed for their marijuana prescriptions has more than doubled. According to government documents obtained by Montreal news outlet La Presse, 47 officers had their prescriptions covered by the insurance plan for RCMP officers who have suffered injuries on the job from 2015 to 2016. The total cost for the medical weed — which averaged about one gram per day per officer — came to $272,000.
In 2014, 20 officers were reimbursed under the plan, for a total of $64,000. And the plan paid out only $8,000 for medical marijuana in 2013. According to La Presse, 5,200 current and former RCMP members are covered under that insurance plan. There are 28,461 members of the force in total.
Canada has a robust medical marijuana regime for people with prescriptions and is set to begin legalizing it for recreational use next year. However, cannabis use remains a point of contention when it comes to law enforcement. Controversy over marijuana use in the RCMP reached fever pitch in 2013 when an officer was forced to surrender his formal uniform after he was filmed smoking his medical marijuana in it to raise awareness about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among officers.