Less than a week before legalization of recreational cannabis use in Canada, the federal government has announced $967,000 for a cannabis public education project in southwestern Nova Scotia.
The investment, which will be over four years, is for the Tri-County Women’s Centre Society and will help it raise awareness of the health effects of cannabis and problematic substance use.
This funding will go toward the women’s centre’s project Youth Truth Matters: Reducing Harms from Substance Use in Rural Areas, which focuses on providing cannabis education to young Nova Scotians living in rural areas. The program will also provide access to harm reduction information, supplies and counselling for people who use substances.
West Nova MP Colin Fraser announced the funding Thursday at the Tri-County Women’s Centre in Yarmouth on behalf of Ginette Petitpas Taylor, the federal health minister.
“Our government is pleased to support the Tri-County Women’s Centre’s Youth Truth Matters project,” Fraser said. “This initiative will allow experts in drug harm reduction to share their knowledge on the dangers of cannabis and drug use with rural youth in southwest Nova Scotia.”
Project co-ordinator Joan Donaldson said the women’s centre is “pleased for the opportunity to do this important and timely work.”
“Our hope is that the project will increase access to information and resources to support informed decision-making, and reduce stigma in our rural areas,” she said. “We will work within a framework that connects mental health, substance use and trauma, which enables the community to walk alongside and support people who use substances.”
Three navigators – one for each county – will work under Donaldson on this program.
In a media release, Petitpas Taylor, the federal health minister, said educating youth about the potential risks of cannabis is a key objective of the federal government’s public health approach to the legalization and regulation of cannabis.
“By building key partnerships, such as this one with the Tri-County Women’s Centre Society, we are able to better reach young Canadians and provide them with the necessary health and safety facts about cannabis,” the minister said.