Feds Cancel Maine’s Mental Health Grants Over Cannabis Legalization
In 2018, the state of Maine won a five-year grant from the federal government that provided $1.1 million per year for Maine-AWARE, a program designed to support student mental health in the state. As reported in the Sun Journal, Maine received the money in 2018 and 2019 but has recently learned the grant has been canceled.
The canceling of the $3.3 million in grant money stems from a new requirement from the Trump administration. Maine’s medical marijuana laws allow students to use cannabis if they have written certification from a medical provider. And while that was not apparently an issue in previous years, the new rule out of Washington says the state cannot receive the grant money if they permit students to use marijuana treatments while at school. A spokesperson for the state called it a “new and arbitrary requirement.”
The ruling will primarily affect the children of Maine, which, according to a JAMA Pediatrics letter published last year, has the highest rate of children diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or ADD in the nation. The abrupt end to the funding will cancel some mental health programs in the state, where more than one in four children, ages 6 to 17, has at least one of the disorders mentioned by JAMA.