Building Capacity and preventing underage drug use
Update on cannabis regulations in Easthampton, and from the Cannabis Control Commission. What to expect next and the role of the coalition. What happens to the cannabis tax revenue generated—what does “education” look like?
A Masslive article from 2/20/18 on the joint hearing of the City Council Ordinance Subcommittee and Planning Board was shared. The article may be found at: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2018/02/divided_opinions_on_marijuana.html At this February 20th meeting, the combined Board/Council began with a working session and then listened to public comment before a packed chamber. Neither the working session nor the public comment period was completed in the 3-hour hearing.
Main considerations raised were: buffer zones to schools, the number of retail locations, and the allowance for social consumption. The Ordinance Subcommittee offered a compromise buffer of 350’ (halfway between the 200’ they had proposed and the 500’ set out in state law), an allowance of 8 retail locations (4 retail, 4 social consumption cafes) in 2018 with an additional 6 (2 retail, 4 social consumption cafes) in 2019 and no cap thereafter. The granting of social consumption licenses would be limited only by state regulation. It is not clear, at this point, whether the Cannabis Control Commission will include a provision as to whether social consumption will be allowed without a voter referendum. There was acknowledgment that these issues require further re-visiting.
Salem Derby referenced trend data from 2009-2017 which showed that youth marijuana use does not show a significant rise.
There was a lot of discuss about “education” but it was not defined. What does education look like? This needs to be further discussed. We are working to finalize the Adult Use Cannabis Rack Card (we are collecting feedback from the community – Cherry and Shannon are helping with this, and feedback from INSA). INSA is opening another facility in Springfield this Spring.
We need to look closely at how the Coalition can help the City. We currently offer alcohol compliance checks and youth prevention education materials, etc. We should also explore a prevention educator role for the City to lead media campaigns, compliance checks, safe storage efforts, etc.
3/7/18 – The draft regulations will go before City Council
4/1/18 – Businesses may apply for licenses to sell cannabis
Quick update on Jan. 30 workshop, Parenting in Age of Legal MJ: How Government Works
This was a successful event with informative presentations by Phoebe Walker, Community Service Director with the Regional Council of Governments and Tamara Smith, former Easthampton City Councilor. A number of City Councilors and School Committee members (many of which are also parents) were in attendance.
We are working on another Parenting Café on vaping. Other topics of interest may be: How to talk to your kids now that Adult Use Cannabis is Legal or Safe Storage, tying in alcohol and gun safety (this could be a follow-up campaign to the Parents Check-In campaign with questions to ask other parents, and possibly a pledge agreement.)
Sharing highlights from CADCA: Poster session, networking, legislative updates and meetings, data/info learned and grant workshop Ruth attended.
The “Talk. They Hear You” regional campaign banner created by Ruth, Susan and Corinne was shared. This banner was on display at CADCA’s Ideas Fair following an application process. This was a great opportunity for the Coalition to network and to show how we adapted the National “Talk. They Hear You” campaign to launch a local campaign. We also showed how we are currently expanding the campaign by collaborating with other coalitions in the region for greater outreach and impact.
Ruth has also been invited to be a highlighted presentation on the upcoming SAMHSA-sponsored national webinar about "Talk. They Hear You" for coalitions and others interested in doing the campaign in rural communities, being scheduled for early April. Susan LaPointe will likely present as well.
Now that we are launching the regional campaign with PSAs on NEPR, iHeart Radio and WWLP, it would be beneficial to touch on the “Talk. They Hear You” campaign each week in our E-Newsletter and on our Facebook page (include information on the campaign, tips on how to talk to your children, etc.) Ruth will be sending out a press release which will be a great kick off for this.
After receiving clarification from the CADCA lawyer, it was determined it’s best to not have staff speak or submit letters to the City or State on behalf of the Coalition. Coalition members may continue operating as they have been and identify as members of the Coalition. The Coalition needs to focus on education and show that we are a resource in Easthampton for topics such as Safe Storage, How to talk to your kids, etc.
At CADCA’s Capitol Hill Day, the focus was that money needs to be directed to prevention.
Continue discussion from Strategic Planning Retreat on priorities of coalition, in context of planning for DFC grant
Julie Anne and Ruth have been meeting weekly. Their internal deadline for the DFC grant is March 16. The grant is due March 29.
Tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and overdose prevention will all be included in the grant (with some overlap).
The mission statement was circulated and approved with no changes. The statement reads: “The Coalition champions healthy decisions and substance abuse prevention among our youth. We work together to develop a local culture that fosters active youth leadership, strong family engagement, and robust community investment.”
We should consider changing the name of the Policy Workgroup (even though it’s through the SPIFFY Laws and Norms workgroup).
Ruth and Julie Anne will be exploring the possibility of having us become a “Prosper Site” where the Coalition could bring together people (including other school districts) through SFP10-14 and LifeSkills, thus producing greater outcomes. Massachusetts is not currently a Prosper State. The Prosper workgroup could replace the Parent Work Group.
It would be great to have someone at the Easthampton High School to connect us more to Parents and Youth. Perhaps we can direct some funding to support the critical work of Asher Hamilton, the new Diversity and Inclusion Officer at EHS.
Tell a story…that illustrates the work/success/impact of coalition in Easthampton.
Cherry has offered to be a reader on the grant. Albie and Laurie have also expressed an interest.
Ruth: Prioritize presenting the PNAs data to the School Committee and City Council.
Ruth/Shannon: Reach out to INSA about a tour (and rack card feedback)
Ruth: Provide City Councilors with educational materials such as the Marijuana and Youth Use handout