Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University has been approved for its Marijuana Education and Research Initiative.
In the Board of Trustees meeting held on March 7th, Peter Harris, the director of the project disclosed the plans and framework for the initiative. The goals of this initiative are simply to provide an educational framework to inform minorities of the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and highlight the ways in which unlawful use of marijuana can negatively impact minority communities. These negative impacts include the consequences associated with the illicit use of marijuana.
“One of the key intents from the legislature is for FAMU to be a leader in research around medical marijuana,” added Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Maurice Edington. At least eight colleges, departments, and divisions are already being involved.
“The scope of our process as defined by the contract is dual,” said Harris. This binary project focuses primarily on research and education.
Research under this initiative will include understanding how medical marijuana prescriptions are being administered in the minority community. This is to ensure that disproportionate amounts of prescriptions are not being given.
Twenty-five proposal have been submitted in relation to conducting research with this initiative. The staff has also conducted four focus groups, completed two literature reviews, and have distributed a preliminary survey with six hundred respondents.
The education portion of the initiative will include the development of education materials and training activities within the community.
“One of the things we have to make sure the public is aware of is that our product will be useful not only in the state of Florida, but on a global scale,” said Harris. The goal of the initiative is to stimulate conversation regarding the taboo topic of marijuana.
The initiative staff not only plans to engage minority communities statewide, but also involve law enforcement agencies throughout the state to aid in spreading the news of developments in research.
The program has already generated over 800,000 dollars in revenue. While the money is being generated, the department of health remits to the initiative’s staff. “We have to be accountable for what we do with the money but its restricted to medical marijuana research at the university,” stated Harris.
Understanding how minority communities perceive the concept of medical marijuana is a key component in the research of the initiative. This will help the staff better educate the community about medical marijuana and its illicit uses.
There are currently five medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of Tallahassee.
“When you ride around in your community and you see a cannabis dispensary, for a lot of citizens that’s a little potentially jarring,” commented Trustee Bettye Grable, “and what FAMU will be able to do is put that into perspective for community members who may not be exposed to as much information as we are here in the university setting.”
Trustees believe that the initiative is a step in the right direction in efforts to help explain the positive effects of these dispensaries in the community.