Florida A&M University (FAMU)’s Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI) reached more than 2,500 residents of Leon County at the 10th Annual “What Women Want” Expo.
MMERI staff distributed surveys to expo attendees as part of their mandate to find out what people in Florida know about medical marijuana and the dangers of illicit marijuana use. Data from the surveys could be used to fine-tune research and help further the office’s mission of reaching and educating the state’s diverse communities of color about these crucial issues.
“There is such a huge void of information from Florida’s diverse minority communities that every time we have an opportunity to engage and gather substantive information, there is enormous value,” MMERI Executive Director Peter Harris said.
Surveys are also distributed at community education forums around the state, where MMERI brings together panels of experts to engage in a two-way conversation with participants about medical marijuana.
“We look forward to forums and events throughout the state as well as the findings that result from our efforts,” Harris added.
Forum panelists include pharmacists, medical doctors, pastors, law enforcement officers, legislators and other stakeholders. The next MMERI community forum will take place on July 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Brownsville Community Resource Center at 3200 W. DeSoto Street, Pensacola.
Since its launch, MMERI has used both forums and community events for public outreach. The “What Women Want” Expo allowed staff members to hear specifically from a female audience.
“We are particularly proud of this event because it was an opportunity for women to tell us what they know and do not know about medical marijuana,” MMERI Public Affairs Liaison Angela Hardiman said. “It continues to foster the two-way conversations we desire for community engagement.”
MMERI’s objective is to build a repository of research and other information for medical marijuana education and research scholars, to establish the University as a touchstone center for marijuana information, to fill in the gaps in medical marijuana research particularly as it relates to diverse communities and to inform public policy in Florida and beyond.
MMERI recently awarded 14 grants totaling $98,000 to more than 20 faculty members to conduct research on marijuana and to enable FAMU’s MMERI to begin that process. The inaugural research projects are expected to be completed by June 30, 2020.