Boys and Girls Club Partners with Florida A&M University to Educate Jacksonville Youth About Unlawful Marijuana Use

FAMU Medical Marijuana Initiative To Support The Club’s Smart Moves Program  – TALLAHASSEE, FL. March 28, 2024 – The Boys and Girls Club, Inc. of Northeast FL (Club), is proud to announce its collaboration with Florida A&M University’s Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI) to address the unlawful use of marijuana and its adverse effects on youth.

In 2018, MMERI was established through collaborative efforts between the Florida Legislature and Florida A&M University (FAMU), serving as a vehicle for public education and engagement on medical marijuana.

On March 28, 2024, MMERI will facilitate the first of several educational programs about cannabis use through the Club’s SMART Moves program (Skills Mastery and Resilience Training) that addresses problems such as drug and alcohol use and premature sexual activity.

During the series of in-person forums and town halls, the MMERI team will engage with youth and their parents in age-appropriate conversations about cannabis and Florida laws about the drug.

FAMU MMERI Executive Director GP Mendie expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, “This partnership is an example of our commitment to addressing the challenges posed by unlawful marijuana use. By working together with the Boys and Girls Club, we can maximize our efforts to educate and support this community.”

The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) most recent youth risk survey report says 16% of high school students used marijuana during the past 30 days, with female students and Black students more likely to consume marijuana.

“As an organization committed to empowering our community’s youth, we are proud to partner with FAMU MMERI in this endeavor. This partnership aligns with the goals of our SMART Moves program to help participants practice resilience and strengthen their decision-making skills and ability to analyze media and peer influence,” said Kevin Carrico, vice president of strategic initiatives from the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida.

The Club has served the Jacksonville community for over 50 years and leverages strategic partnerships to support its youth development and educational programs. Former FAMU Board of Trustees Chairman Kelvin Lawson, who also serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida, was instrumental in coordinating this partnership.

“The youth will benefit from MMERI’s efforts in our community to curb the use of recreational marijuana,” Lawson said. “This partnership will educate and empower them and foster a safer environment for future generations.



Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) is a public, Historically Black College and University (HBCU), located in Tallahassee, Florida. What distinguishes FAMU from other universities is its legacy of providing access to high-quality, affordable education with programs and services that guide students toward successfully achieving their dreams. FAMU is part of the State University System of Florida and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


The Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI) at Florida A&M University, funded by the Florida Department of Health, aims to educate and inform Florida’s multicultural and multigenerational population about medical marijuana and the potential consequences to health and well-being from recreational use. MMERI ensures widespread dissemination of educational information about cannabis across the state through an interactive website, community outreach activities, and engaging conversations on cannabis.


Established in 1962, the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida has played a pivotal role in youth development in Jacksonville for over five decades. With a mission focused on enabling all young people, particularly those in need, to realize their potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens, the Club is dedicated to delivering a world-class experience to every youth it serves.  Serving over 5,200 young people through 56 Clubs across Alachua, Clay, Duval, and St. Johns counties, the organization offers daily youth development and educational programs after school and during the summer. As an affiliate of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a renowned youth development organization, the Club remains steadfast in its commitment to positively impacting the lives of the youth it serv

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