Anyone seeking general knowledge of medical marijuana’s future in Missouri and Franklin County can attend a community education event presented by HOPE for Franklin County Coalition Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 5:30 p.m.
HOPE is an acronym for Healthy Outcomes through Prevention Education.
“Our mission at the coalition is to empower young people to make positive decisions and lead, healthy drug-free lives,” said Julie Hook, program director. “In order to empower young people to make those decisions, we have to educate people who live in the community — both young people and adults. We have to teach them about the facts of how substance abuse starts, what young people are doing in our communities.”
This event will educate the public about the impending medical marijuana changes in Missouri after voters passed Amendment 2 in November 2018. The amendment legalizes marijuana use for medical purposes, created a marijuana sales tax at 4 percent and will spend tax revenue on health care services for veterans.
“People are just confused,” Hook said. “They don’t know a lot. There is always a little confusion about marijuana in general, what its components are, that kind of thing. With the passage of that amendment, we just know that the promotion of the upcoming changes for the community are already happening. People are aware of the changes, but they just don’t know a lot about what they are.”
There will be two speakers at the event.
Stacie Zellin is a community educator with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA).
“One thing people are confused about is what is (marijuana)? People are throwing around terms like CBD, THC, edibles, vaping marijuana — there are all kinds of information that people don’t know,” Hook said. “Stacie will inform the community about what is marijuana and the active components we are discussing the most right now.”
Also speaking will be Lyndall Fraker, director of the section for medical marijuana regulation under the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
“Some of the other states surrounding us and other options on the ballot last fall do not have the same type of regulatory structure,” Hook said. “So the state department of health and senior services has been developing policies about everything you can imagine about this process. Not just distribution, but certainly that. But also the medical requirements, the card-carrying requirements and all those sorts of regulations.”
Hook explained that although that information is available online, it can be hard to sift through.
“A lot of people think that we voted for the amendment in November 2018 and now they can just smoke whenever they want to,” she said. “They are just not clear on the rules and Lyndall will gives us the time line and guidelines.”
The meeting will take place at Foundations for Franklin County, located at 3033 Highway A, Ssuite 103, in Washington. It’s just north of Highway YY and A intersection, in the same building as the Krakow Veterinary Clinic.
Hook said the space is limited but all are invited. It’s best to register for the event by contacting her through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. HOPE can also be reached at 636-239-7652 or foundationsforfranklincounty.org.
“We want to educate people and I think people really don’t believe there is a source of information out there that is not biased,” Hook said. “We are not about scare tactics. We don’t want somebody to turn around 10 years from now and go, ‘If I would have known this, my life would have been different.’ That’s what we want to avoid.”