In 2021 alone, states with legal cannabis markets collected more than $3.7 billion in recreational cannabis taxes. Michigan, which legalized adult-use cannabis in 2018, collected almost $175 million from a 10% excise tax on all recreational cannabis sales in the same year. Regulators from the state recently announced that a portion of these funds would be funneled to institutions researching the potential medical benefits of cannabis for veterans.
This will be the second round of funding provided by the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (MRA) as part of the state’s Veteran Marijuana Research (VMR) Grant Program. This time, the agency will recommend providing two universities with $20 million in grants. According to Michigan’s recreational cannabis law, the state has to provide nonprofit organizations or academic institutions with $20 million annually.
These grants should be expressly used to fund clinical trials into the potential outcomes of using marijuana to treat conditions that tend to affect veterans. Furthermore, these clinical trials have to be sponsored by the recipient of the grant and have the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency reviewed five applicants for the grants, focusing on factors such as financial sustainability, experience, budget and management summaries, before recommending two institutions.
As per the agency’s recommendations, Wayne State University would receive a grant worth around $12.5 million while the University of Michigan would receive a $7.5 million grant. According to the University of Michigan, the school will use its grant to research whether marijuana-based treatments could be effective at treating chronic pain and reducing suicide risk in veterans. The university will specifically focus on researching cannabidiol’s (CBD) pain-relieving properties.
Data shows that 65.6% of veterans regularly deal with chronic pain and that 9.1% live with severe chronic pain. The Department of Veteran Affairs states that back pain, joint pain and musculoskeletal pain tend to be the most common types of chronic pain that afflict veterans. Pharmaceutical medications meant to alleviate chronic pain aren’t always successful, and they usually leave veterans with a variety of side effects.
Wayne State University, on the other hand, will use the grants to fund different studies. The first will be a clinical trial into the efficacy of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC against post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans who are in prolonged exposure (PE) therapy. The clinical trial will research how cannabis affects the neurobiological and neuroinflammation mechanisms that are associated with suicide ideation in veterans suffering from PTSD.
The marijuana tax funds being injected by Michigan into studying how cannabis can be helpful to military veterans illustrates just how far-reaching the benefits of permitting companies such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) to operate can be, not just to the economy but to the community as well.
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