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With $20M to spend on marijuana research for veteran care, Michigan seeks proposals

Researchers studying the efficacy of marijuana treatments for veterans’ mental health now have access to $20 million in marijuana tax revenue to fund clinical trials.

 

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued a request for proposals for the 2021 Veteran Marijuana Research Grant Program on Tuesday, June 1. The deadline for proposals is Friday, July 16.

 

When Michigan voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2018, they mandated that “until 2022 or for at least two years” $20 million in marijuana tax revenue should go to research.

 

The $20 million is meant to fund clinical trials focused on treating veterans for pain and PTSD with marijuana, and to study the plant’s effects on suicide rates among military personnel.

 
 

Veteran suicides made up about 14% of total suicides in America in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ most recent data.

 
 

Between Dec. 1, 2019, the day legal sales began, and Sept. 30, the end of the 2020 fiscal year, the industry tallied more than $330 million in sales, according to the state Treasury.

 
 

Government revenue collected in recreational marijuana excise taxes totaled $31 million in fiscal year 2020. When application and licensing fees were added, the total jumped to $45.7 million, according to the state Treasury.

 
 

In March, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency and the state Treasury outlined how Michigan would disburse nearly $45 million accrued in tax, application, licensing and renewal revenue from recreational marijuana sales. None of it was initially slated to go to clinical trials.

 
 

At the time, the MRA said the $20 million was still earmarked for research. On Tuesday, the agency made good on that promise, opening up the grant request process. The anticipated start date for the research program is July 30.

 
 

The request for proposal forms can be found at https://www.michigan.gov/MRA.

 
 
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