Welcome to another informative issue of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI) eNewsletter.

The FAMU MMERI’s mission is to “educate minorities and Floridians about marijuana for medical use and the impact of the unlawful use of marijuana on minority communities.”

Driving our mission is a multifaceted outreach campaign that includes community webinars, radio, and podcast programming; videocasts; newsletters; informational handouts (translated in Haitian-Creole, Spanish and French), and public service announcements (English and Spanish); a basic medical marijuana education course in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole; a Train the Trainer Program, designed to provide training to individuals who will successfully deliver, facilitate, and disseminate educational programs and services within their respective communities to advance MMERI’s Legislative Authorization. The training equips instructors with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to incorporate MMERI’s education curricula into their regular interactions with Floridians and minority groups across the State of Florida.

We have connected with multicultural communities from the Panhandle to South Florida and brought them into the conversation about marijuana for medical use and the impact of unlawful use of marijuana. Our presence is on several popular social media platforms to assist the process of continuous learning and make a greater impact in Florida's diverse communities.

At the FAMU MMERI, we are building momentum in our delivery of products, services, and activities, as we educate people and inspire them to learn as we talk frankly about marijuana for medical use and the impact of unlawful use of marijuana in minority communities.

Please stay safe and healthy!


Patricia Green-Powell, Ph.D.
Executive Director, MMERI
Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative External Advisory Council (MMERIEAC) Member Spotlight
The Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative External Advisory Council (MMERIEAC) is an eleven member volunteer panel that serves as an impartial adviser to the leadership of the Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative. It is composed of active and retired professionals from a wide range of endeavors, from business and law enforcement to academia and healthcare.
A key responsibility of members is to help MMERI make connections with community leaders and potential partners in minority communities. The group meets three times a year and each member is required to participate in at least two MMERI activities annually.

This month, MMERIEAC Chair Patricia Dawson will be participating as a speaker in the upcoming Conversations on Cannabis virtual forum. This live forum will stream on Zoom and Facebook on Monday, September 28 at 7 p.m. Floridians are encouraged to tune in to hear the latest information from experts on medical marijuana use and the consequences of unlawful marijuana use in Florida.

A practicing attorney for more than 26 years and a graduate of Florida A&M University, Attorney Dawson is a solo practitioner of the Law Office of Patricia Dawson, P. A. Her practice focuses on Criminal Defense, Family Law, Personal Injury, Title IX, and high-profile cases. She formerly served as a Prosecutor for the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office for more than a decade.

In addition to a long list of legal associations, Attorney Dawson has served in leadership roles with several Tampa Bay nonprofit organizations and participated as a mentor for high school and middle school students.

To hear from Attorney Dawson and other experts, visit MMERI.FAMU.edu/Talk to register for this month’s virtual forum streamed live on Zoom and Facebook.
Statewide Community Engagement Continues
MMERI held its first virtual forum, Conversations on Cannabis: What’s New in Florida?, on Monday, August 31. The event was held on Zoom and Facebook Live. MMERI’s intention was to foster a safe space for a two-way conversation with diverse and multicultural audiences on their interests and concerns about marijuana for medical and unlawful use in Florida. The event was successful with a host of live viewers tuned in and thoroughly engaged with questions for the panelists.

Hosted by Angela Hardiman, the conversation featured Florida’s new Cannabis Director Holly Bell and Dr. Terel Newton, an anesthesiologist specializing in acute pain relief. Both talked about the growth of medical marijuana use and how to obtain it legally in Florida.

An additional engagement included Canna-Biz, a Discussion on Medical Marijuana and Progressive Policy on Tuesday, August 12. Featured panelists included Dr. Patricia Green-Powell, Executive Director, MMERI; Holly Bell, Director of Cannabis, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Kristen Dozier, Leon County Commissioner. The event was presented by New Leaders Council (NLC) Tallahassee.

On August 11, another exciting engagement included the online HBCU Cannabis Equity Initiative Virtual Learning Community, the Truths and Falsehoods of Cannabis – A Perspective from Medical Professionals, where again, Dr. Green-Powell was a panelist. The programming was developed for HBCU students and Cannabis companies to engage, learn, and access information and strategies to participate in the Cannabis Industry. Topics were centered around cannabis social equity and STEM.
Feedback from Floridians
The Conversations on Cannabis virtual forum on Monday, August 31 was streamed live on Facebook and was very successful. The forum reached nearly 780 people and had just over 50 post engagements. During the forum, we received a question from one of the participants who asked – “Why is it so expensive to obtain a medical marijuana card?” She went on to say that she had numerous back problems and the doctor prescribed medicine that doesn’t work. This is just one inquiry shared during our virtual forum. If you missed the forum, click the link below to watch.
Calendar Alert
Please join us for the next Conversations on Cannabis virtual forum, Monday, September 28, at 7 p.m. This forum will feature legal experts, Attorney Patricia Dawson and Chief Terence Calloway, to talk and answer your questions about the unlawful use of marijuana in Florida. Click the link below to attend and be heard on Monday, September 28, 7 p.m.
During COVID-19
MMERI Basic Medical Marijuana Education Course
The goal of the MMERI Basic Education course is to educate participants about marijuana for medical use and the impact of unlawful use of marijuana. The course is designed to provide a basic overview which includes: definitions; a history of marijuana use; criminalization; changes in perception; Florida Law; medicinal uses; medical marijuana qualifying conditions, qualifying physicians, unlawful marijuana use and mental illness, information from the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Usage; safety issues in administering medical marijuana; prevention of unlawful use; intervention strategies and referral resources for assistance.

Information for the course is gleaned from community forums held around the state, MMERI Forum Radio Podcasts, evidence-based pedagogy, and research from various areas, including the Florida Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute of Health (NIH), etc.
Coming Soon...

The FAMU MMERI Intermediate Medical Marijuana Education Course

The Intermediate Medical Marijuana Education Course is designed for those interested in going beyond the current Basic Medical Marijuana education course, to a deeper more contextual and analytical understanding (Bloom, 1956) of marijuana for medical use and the impact of unlawful use of marijuana.

The targeted audience may include, but not limited to, health care professions, allied health workers, qualified patients, social service workers, highly motivated individuals who took the Basic Medical Marijuana Education course, and home health caregivers.

Some of the topics covered:

  • Chemical difference between Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Various definitions and terms
  • Roles: caregivers, Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs), Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU), physicians, patients
  • Classification of the prevention strategies and consequence of unlawful use of marijuana into six dimensions (social, occupational, spiritual, physical, intellectual, and emotional)
  • And several other engaging topics
MMERI's Train-the-Trainer Program

The goal of the FAMU MMERI train-the-trainer program is to train a diverse group of individuals from throughout Florida who have the leadership and facilitative skills to conduct minority-targeted community sessions about marijuana for medical use and the impact of unlawful use of marijuana. The training program is based on instructing the trainees about medical marijuana, modeling good coaching and feedback skills to ensure each has sufficient cultural and linguistic competency to establish rapport with their diverse communities, and to be able to address the learning styles of their audiences.

Trainees are exposed to facilitative techniques, course session management, how to deal with difficult situations (and people), as well as to be able to utilize technology and access online resources to support the important information being delivered.
Since the program’s launch on June 30, 2020, 15 individuals have been trained, representing counties in the State of Florida.

Here are the counties we have individuals who were trained:

  • Escambia
  • Leon and Gadsden
  • Duval
  • Orange and Brevard
  • Miami-Dade
Spotlight on National Hispanic
Heritage Month
MMERI recognizes National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 through October 15, and celebrates the rich heritage of the Hispanic community. Click link below for an insightful article.

We are proud to report the 12-month, evidence-based study grants awarded to esteemed FAMU faculty members last August have been completed. “At just a glance of the final reports, we are extremely pleased and look forward to sharing the findings with the broader community,” said Dr. Cynthia Hughes Harris, MMERI Research Chair and Dean of School of Allied Health Sciences. Please look for details soon as we disseminate the outcomes of these great works. To view a list of the studies, visit link below.
Healthcare Update

Edible marijuana is now available in Florida and offers TruGels at dispensaries. The sale comes four years after Florida voters voted to legalize medical marijuana, and one week after the Florida Department of Health (DOH) published emergency rules for edible products. Upon approval from DOH, Florida dispensaries are allowed to offer five different kinds of edible products made with marijuana. The rules prohibit edibles from coming in bright colors or resembling commercially available candy to prevent children from mistaking the marijuana- laced product with candy. The article was recently publish in the Tallahassee Democrat and gives a full outlook on the regulations of edibles.
What You Should Know: Q & A

Cannabidiol (CBD): a cannabinoid that has potential medical benefits but is not psychoactive and can actually counteract the psychoactive effects of THC.

Cannabinoid: any of the chemical compounds in the cannabis plant that affect the body’s endocannabinoid system, including the central nervous system and the immune system. Some cannabinoids are psychoactive (acting on the brain and changing mood or consciousness); some are not.

Edibles: commercially produced food items made with marijuana oil, but no other form of marijuana, that are produced and dispensed by a treatment center.

Source: Medical Marijuana in Florida, A Law Enforcement Reference Guide, March 2019
Visit mmeri.famu.edu/repository to find MMERI's digital resources.

Visit www.knowthefactsmmj.com to learn more on how to obtain a medical marijuana card.
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Florida A&M University
Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI)

625 E. Tennessee Street, Suite 210 • Tallahassee, Florida 32308
(850) 561-2456