The state of Michigan has decided to give out $20 million from its recreational cannabis tax revenue toward medical marijuana research.
This news about the state funding cannabis-related research has been released to clarify some confusion caused by the marijuana tax disbursements that occurred in Michigan earlier in March.
In November 2018, the state government approved the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act after it won 56% of the vote. This act is best known for allowing adults aged 21 and up to possess cannabis and cultivate cannabis plants in their homes and for imposing a 10% excise tax on the selling of recreational marijuana.
However, one lesser-known fact about this act is that it also requires the Michigan Department of Treasury to donate $20 million from the state’s cannabis tax revenue to at least one clinical trial on medical marijuana. The clinical trial has to be endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration or sponsored by a highly esteemed non-profit organization or academic institution.
Last month, news broke out that for Michigan’s 2020 fiscal year, a total of $45.7 million was accrued from the 10% excise tax — which earned more than $31 million — and other fees, such as application, licensing, and renewal revenue. The state government then reported that this amount would be ready for disbursement.
During the first week of March, the first ones to receive payment from the Marijuana Regulation Fund were the 104 Michigan communities with licensed cannabis stores and businesses within their jurisdiction. Then, the School Aid Fund and the Michigan Transportation Fund also received disbursements. There was no mention of an amount for medical marijuana research.
Fortunately, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA), which is Michigan’s cannabis regulator, has cleared up the confusion and stated on the second week of March that the state would be allocating $20 million to medical marijuana research funding after all.
After the MRA has announced the state’s plan on funding medical marijuana research, they reported what particular research they would like to support.
They have decided that the $20 million should go to the clinical trials that focus on using marijuana as the treatment for veterans who experience pain and mental illness, especially post-traumatic stress disorder.
Some studies have shown that the suicide rate among military personnel is about 50% higher than the rate among the general public. As a result, this research aims to study the effect of marijuana on the mental health of military veterans, considering that researchers in the past have noted marijuana’s possibility in easing symptoms of mental illness like PTSD and depression.
The MRA has announced that they are in the process of sending out proposals to access funding. They said that the first round of distributions is set to occur this fiscal year, which will end in September 2021.