State grant funding has been made available to Livingston County to support medical marijuana education efforts.

The Michigan Legislature has appropriated $3 million dollars for the Medical Marihuana Operation and Oversight Grants, which come from a fund created within the state treasury. The fund is the result of medical marijuana tax revenue from fees collected under Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Act. Counties that receive the grants are required to use them for medical marijuana education, communication and outreach programs.

As the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation has not provided any other guidance aside from that broad description, it would be up to county officials to determine how the money would be utilized. That decision would be left up to Livingston County’s Health Officer and Director of Community Mental Health, should the county receive the grant that department heads are looking to apply for. County Administrator Ken Hinton says the grant cannot be used for law enforcement purposes due to a recent change in regulations that required the money to be earmarked for education efforts.

The potential grant amounts are calculated based on the proportion of the number of cards that were issued or renewed in each county as of September 30th, 2018. Livingston County is eligible for $50,268 as there were a total of 2,689 patient registry cards issued or renewed last year. 360 patient registry cards were issued in 2018 and 2,329 cards were renewed. The Health Department would be the administrator of the grant and reporting requirements.

A resolution seeking to apply for and accept the grant came before a Livingston County subcommittee Monday night. Committee members voted unanimously to recommend approval to the Finance committee and from there, the county’s Board of Commissioners. The county must apply for the grant by January 1st, otherwise the money will return to the state fund to be distributed among eligible communities. Counties that receive the funding will be required to submit financial status reports to LARA on three separate occasions in 2019. (DK)