December 1, 2023


FAMU Announces Orlando Medical Marijuana Community Forum

Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida A&M University (FAMU) ‘s Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI) today announced the second community forum as part of the campaign to educate and inform the state’s diverse minority communities about medical marijuana.

The forum will be held on Tuesday, June 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the auditorium at the Valencia College School of Public Safety, 8600 Valencia College Lane, Orlando.

The MMERI forums provide community members with an opportunity to engage in a two-way conversation with medical marijuana stakeholders. Community members will be able to ask questions and get answers from the diverse panel made up of:

Cynthia Hughes Harris, Ph.D.
Research Chair, MMERI Initiative, and Dean, School of Allied Health Sciences
Florida A&M University

Rep. Bruce Antone
Florida House of Representatives

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith 
Florida House of Representatives

Valeria Robinson Baker, RPh, C.Ph.
Olympia Compounding Pharmacy

Uday Daphtary, MD
Affordable Care Clinics

Mark Canty
Undersheriff, Orange County Sheriff’s Office
Rev. Leo Stoney
Pastor, The MaxOut Church 

MMERI Director Peter Harris said community feedback is crucial to his team’s efforts.

“It is critical that we hear directly and in-person from Florida’s diverse minority communities so that we clearly understand their needs and concerns around medical marijuana,” Harris said. “We are on an aggressive timeline to make sure that we hear the voices of interested Floridians as we work to inform legislation and develop policies that will surely affect their lives.”

MMERI forum organizer and Public Affairs Liaison Angela Hardiman said the location of the event is vital in order to reach as many affected groups as possible.

“Orlando is an important market for us because the community consists of so many diverse minority groups.  Our two-way communication methodology allows for the greatest exchange of information,” she said. “We’ve heard from past forum attendees that are very appreciative of the opportunity to ask questions and get answers, and we are extending this model throughout the state.”

MMERI has several additional panels scheduled this summer.

MMERI Event Date Location
Community Forum June 27, 2019 Tampa/St. Petersburg
Community Forum July 9, 2019 Pensacola
Community Forum July 18, 2019 Jacksonville
Community Forum TBD Palm Beach/Ft. Lauderdale
Community Forum TBD Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties

MMERI’s objective is to build a repository of research and other information for medical marijuana education and research scholars, to establish the University as a touchstone center for marijuana information, to fill in the gaps in medical marijuana research particularly as it relates to diverse communities and to inform public policy, in Florida and beyond. MMERI recently awarded 14 grants totaling $98,000 to more than 20 faculty members to conduct research on marijuana, to enable FAMU’s MMERI to begin that process. The inaugural research projects are expected to be completed by June 30, 2020.

About FAMU
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, founded on October 3, 1887, began classes with 15 students and two instructors. Today, FAMU is one of 12 institutions in Florida’s State University System and has nearly 10,000 students.

FAMU offers 54 bachelor’s degrees, 29 master’s degrees, 12 doctoral degrees and three professional degrees.  The three professional degrees include the J.D., Pharm.D., and the Doctor of Physical Therapy. The 12 doctoral degree programs include 11 doctoral degrees and one Doctor of Public Health. The 11 doctoral programs are: biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, pharmaceutical sciences, physics, educational leadership, environmental science and entomology. For more information, visit

Media Contact

Carol Davis
FAMU Office of Communications

Event Contact

Angela Hardiman
Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative 

Source/Photo credit: FAMU

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