Oklahoma Allocates $2M from Cannabis Taxes to Fund Youth Substance Abuse Program

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has designated $2 million from medical cannabis taxes to fund youth substance abuse programs in the state.

Full story after the jump.

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) is allocating $2 million from cannabis taxes to the state Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) to fund substance abuse interventions. The state’s medical cannabis law requires that part of medical cannabis excise tax revenues are used to fund anti-drug and rehabilitation programs.

OJA will use the funds to provide an innovative, evidence-based intervention program called Functional Family Therapy (FFT), which is currently being implemented in 45 states and 10 countries. OJA is partnering with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) to bring the treatment to the state to address adolescent substance abuse and the underlying behavioral health conditions that lead teens to misuse drugs and alcohol.

FFT is a leading treatment supported by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the OJA said in a press release. OJA Executive Director Rachel Holt said the program “allows eligible youth to be treated in the community.”

“Treating young people in their own homes with their families has shown to have better outcomes instead of sending them to an out-of-home placement. Investing in the right treatments makes our communities safer because it meets the youth’s needs and demonstrates decreased recidivism.” – Holt in a statement

The agency indicated that when Ohio adopted the FFT program, it resulted in a 56% reduction in youth being placed outside of the home and substantially decreased the amount of subsequent serious and violent crime. In Ohio, the program costs about $5,000 per youth compared to spending $200,000 to place a youth in the Ohio Department of Youth Services.

“Substance abuse is associated with a multitude of lifelong negative impacts, including involvement within the justice system,” Holt said in a statement. “These are multi-generational issues for Oklahoma youth, and OJA is committed to working with youth and families to help end the cycle.”

The $2 million is included in OMMA’s fiscal year 2022 budget and OJA will provide quarterly project reports to OMMA.

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