By: Tony Davis
Photo by: Global Cosmetics News
Four P.E.I. junior high schools held sessions Wednesday educating parents and teachers on how to talk cannabis with people under the legal age.
Heath MacDonald, Finance Minister for the province, said the sessions on Wednesday evening were well attended.
“Educating people on how to talk to their children is important.”
The provincial government has introduced the ‘Just the Facts’ campaign focused on cannabis education.
“Cannabis will soon be legal, so we will make sure Islanders have the information they need to make a fully informed choice,” MacDonald said. “There is much false information out there concerning recreational cannabis; ‘Just the Facts’ ensures that all Islanders, especially youth, get the most concise accurate information from credible sources.”
The province has worked with other companies to help inform people about the health effects of marijuana.
“MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Canada is one of the companies doing some of our training. MADD is on board and encompassing every age bracket.”
With Cannabis transferring from the black market to a legal one, MacDonald said it’s hard to tell who is using and intends to consume marijuana.
“Right now, we are limited to the scope of who is going to use it, how long they are going to use it, is it just a fad? We have none of that information. Everything has been done underground.”
It was difficult for the province to put together budgets in regard to cannabis because of the limited amount of legitimate information. “Even places like Colorado didn’t exactly replicate what is happening with legalization Canada wide,” MacDonald said.
“It is really hard to gauge. This is trial and error, my point of view on it is regulate it a much as possible until we have those numbers and those statics and find out exactly what we should be doing going forward.”
MacDonald says that education and heath will always be a part of cannabis legislature.
“We are in the high schools. They will get the education in the high school system.”
Last year MacDonald attended a presentation from MADD where the entire focus was on driving under the influence of marijuana and drugs.
“It was fascinating, I went there with a little nervousness that we were brining this in. We wanted to talk about it (drug impaired driving) for the last 10 years and they (MADD) are out in front of us,” he said.
MADD and other companies are using cannabis legalization as a lens to open up the conversation about driving under the influence of all drugs.
“Legalization is allowing us to do more on the education and health side.”
Universities and colleges around the country are also looking at legalization and how it may effect the student body.
Several areas at UPEI such as Residence Services, Human Resources, Security Services, and Student Affairs have reviewed the federal cannabis legislation to see how it might impact UPEI’s operations and current policies.
“In any new policies or procedures UPEI may develop, the University’s focus will be on harm reduction and responsible use,” a statement from UPEI said.
The university’s policy has been further revised to incorporate cannabis in UPEI’s Tobacco-Use Policy, which already indicated UPEI as a smoke-free place.
“The revised policy is in final draft form and is expected to be on the agenda for an upcoming meeting of the UPEI Board of Governors for approval,” said UPEI.
Another way UPEI is educating students about the possible harms associated with use of alcohol and cannabis as well as other drugs is through Residence Life Advisors. “They are equipped with tools and knowledge to support and educate their peers about responsible use and how to make informed choices,” says a university representative.
Here are some key facts from the ‘Just the Facts’ campaign: