Federal Grant Funding Restrictions Through SAMHSA Updated in Favor of Medical Cannabis

Federal grant restrictions revolving around cannabis-related grant funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration (SAMHSA) was announced earlier this week.

News broke when the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (PDDAP) made note of a change in text for organizations that are eligible to receive federal SAMHSA grants on August 2. 

“SAMHSA grant funds may not be used to purchase, prescribe, or provide marijuana or treatment using marijuana. See, e.g., 45 C.F.R. 75.300(a) (requiring HHS to ensure that Federal funding is expended in full accordance with U.S. statutory and public policy requirements); 21 U.S.C. 812(c)(10) and 841 (prohibiting the possession, manufacture, sale, purchase or distribution of marijuana),” reads the new wording

The former text was much longer and spoke about the prohibition of funds that were used “…to purchase, prescribe, or provide marijuana or treatment using marijuana.” The original clause regarding medical cannabis limitations was added in 2020 and automatically carried on to the 2021 version.

Officials from the PDDAP released a memo on June 2, 2021, warning that SAMHSA’s policy could put health funding at risk. The memo also included a SAMHSA FAQ page with five questions and answers, dated January 1, 2020, that clarified its stance on medical cannabis.

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