New Brunswick

Proposed cannabis fund would help educate young about pot

The New Brunswick government says it wants to create a special fund to support education programs aimed at keeping marijuana out of the hands of youth.

Cannabis Education and Awareness Fund Act meant to support education programs to keep drug away from youth

The Liberal government wants to create a special fund to support research and education programs on the use of recreational marijuana. (CBC)

The New Brunswick government says it wants to create a special fund to support education programs aimed at keeping marijuana out of the hands of youth. 

Finance Minister Cathy Rogers announced Friday that the government intends to introduce legislation to this effect, called the Cannabis Education and Awareness Fund Act.

The fund would be administered by the Department of Finance.

Friday's announcement was short on specifics, but Rogers said the fund would be available to support initiatives aimed at encouraging responsible use of cannabis.

The government announced earlier this week that the legal age for purchasing recreational marijuana will be 19 when the drug becomes legal next July.

The decision went against the advice of doctors concerned about research showing marijuana use can hurt the brains of young people up to the age of 25. 

Rogers said a broad range of people would be able to apply for funding under the planned legislation, including academics, non-profit groups and those working in the public sector.

Finance Minister Cathy Rogers said the fund would be available to support a broad range of initiatives related to education on the impacts of recreational marijuana use. (CBC)

The money for the fund will be at least partially supported by the yet-to-be named Crown corporation the province has created to oversee recreational pot sales in New Brunswick, she said.

Rogers couldn't give a specific breakdown of the other sources the fund will draw from, but pointed out that the memoranda of understandings signed by cannabis suppliers mandates them to commit two per cent of their gross sales to education and awareness programs.

"We anticipate this money would go into this," she said.

Public health issue 

Green Party Leader David Coon recently called on the government to put a strong education plan in place to educate the public on the potential harms of the drug. 

He said he thought this work should be done by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer, since it is a public health issue. 

Green Party Leader David Coon says the proposed education fund should be overseen by the public health department. (CBC)

"This is exactly the kind of work that the public health branch should be doing," he said.

"There's no need to set up some separate institutional arrangement to deliver education and research, when we already have that expertise in government."  

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