FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has selected members of the Cannabis Education and Awareness Fund’s advisory committee.

“Your government understands the importance of ensuring education and awareness programs are in place, as cannabis is legalized. The advisory committee has the important role of selecting which projects that contribute to this effort will receive funding,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “These three external members offer a wide range of expertise that will strengthen and complement the internal membership of the advisory committee. I am pleased that they all raised their hand to participate in this important group. We are committed to ensuring that education and awareness are a cornerstone of the legalization of cannabis in New Brunswick.”

After a call for expressions for interest three external members were selected, they are: Joanne Murray, Geordie Gould and France Chassé. The remaining four members are senior civil servants, including the chair of the Cannabis Management Corporation or their delegate, the chief medical officer of health, and representatives from the departments of Health and Education and Early Childhood Development.

The committee was established under the Cannabis Education and Awareness Fund Act. Part of its responsibilities will be to help establish guidelines and criteria for the applications to the fund as well as recommendations on the awarding and disbursement of the funds. Once the guidelines and criteria are developed they will be posted on the website.

The Cannabis Education and Awareness Fund is to be used to provide financial support for research and development, implementation, delivery and management of prevention, education and awareness policies and programs related to the responsible use of cannabis and corporate social responsibility efforts in the distribution and sale of cannabis.

Initially, the fund will be supported by two per cent of the gross sales of cannabis from suppliers to the provincial retailer, Cannabis NB, as well as an initial $250,000 contribution from the province to facilitate an early launch.

Following are the biographies of the three external advisory committee members:

Joanne Murray, Moncton

Murray is currently in her 24th year as executive director of the John Howard Society of Southeastern New Brunswick Inc. The society’s mandate is to promote effective, just and humane responses to the causes and consequences of crime. Over the past 27 years, Murray has also been operating a private consulting business where she provides support and services to the non-profit sector, working directly with boards and leadership to implement strategic planning, facilitate workshops, and funding strategies. From 2001-2005, she served on the Imagine Canada’s Knowledge Dissemination Network Board. In this role, Murray was one of 12 board members responsible for establishing evaluation criteria, funding guidelines, and selecting successful proposals that would add to the body of knowledge of volunteerism in Canada.

Geordie Gould, Queen’s County

Gould currently serves as the director of client relations at Portage Atlantic, a non-profit organization that operates a residential drug addiction rehabilitation centre for Atlantic Canada youth. He is responsible for the management of their operational budget. Gould has over 24 years experience in the management of substance abuse programs for youth, adults, families and persons with mental illness and substance use disorders. He is a member of the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation and the International Council on Alcohol and Addictions – International Information and Trends.

France Chassé, Edmundston

Chassé has a bachelor of nursing degree from the Université de Moncton, a master’s degree in nursing from Université Laval, and a Ph.D. in measurement and evaluation from Université Laval. She has been a full professor of nursing at the Université de Moncton, Edmundston campus, since 1996. She is active in the field of teaching and research, and her interests are in community care and its theoretical and clinical components. Her research includes nursing education, client education, health promotion and disease prevention initiatives, health needs assessment, and the evaluation of health programs. Her current research is on the contribution of cultural experiences at the international level to nursing education, and factors motivating francophone professors involved in training health professionals in New Brunswick.