Manistee and Benzie Counties both stand to receive some money from the Marijuana Regulatory Agency to educate the public about medical marijuana.
The agency recently released the amounts for potential Medical Marihuana Operation and Oversight Grants for fiscal year 2022, and opened the applications process. Counties can apply for the funds or act as the fiduciary for another organization looking to utilize them.
The grants are used for education, communication and outreach regarding the 2008 Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, but cannot be used for law enforcement purposes.
Manistee County organizations can potentially net at total of $4,348. Benzie County could receive a total of $14,587.
The amounts are based on the number of marijuana registry identification cards issued or renewed in the county as of Sept. 30. According to the agency, cards are needed by those seeking medical marijuana products.
Benzie County saw 567 cards issued or renewed, and Manistee saw 169 cards issued or renewed.
The oversight grants have been available yearly since 2016, according to the agency.
Lisa Sagala, administrator for Manistee County, said the county has taken advantage of the funds in the past by acting as a fiduciary for District Health Department # 10.
“The county applies and act as a fiduciary through which the health department can get the grants,” Sagala said. “The county acts as a pass-through. There are stipulations, and we must apply.”
Sagala said the funding allows the health department to create an outreach program.
“It helps them receive funds and do some projects they might otherwise not be able to do,” she said.
Jen Hansen, community health supervisor fro District Health Department #10, said the department has not yet talked with county governments in its jurisdiction about applying for the grant funding.
“Each year when the RFP (request for proposal) comes out we get in touch with our county administrators in all 10 of our counties and see if they are interested in partnering on this,” Hansen wrote in an email. “Being that we have not yet had those conversations I am unsure if Manistee intends to apply or not. If they do, we create a plan for the year, get their approval and it gets submitted to the state.”
In the past, the department has used the funds for educational billboards and social media campaigns, lockboxes for residents and healthcare provider education.
“Our efforts are primarily targeted at preventing youth access to marijuana, accidental ingestion by kids, and information regarding the risks of marijuana use during pregnancy,” Hansen said.
In total, the Michigan Legislature has appropriated three million dollars for the 2022 Medical Marihuana Operation and Oversight Grants
Once grant applications are accepted and approved by the agency, the grant recipients are required to submit quarterly financial status reports and a final report.
Application information and instructions can be found at michigan.gov/mra.
Medical Marijuana Operation and Oversight Grant applications must be received electronically no later than Jan. 1, 2022 at MRA-MMOOG@michigan.gov.