Forty years after lawmakers approved marijuana for medical use, Louisiana patients could finally be getting their hands on the good stuff as early as September.
Earlier this week, officials from Louisiana State University and Southern University presented their plan to the joint House and Senate agriculture committee. According to Gambit Weekly, LSU will grow plants in an undisclosed 27,000 square foot building in Baton Rouge and Las Vegas-based GB Sciences will build a 5,000 square foot lab for research and production following the plants’ 8-10 week growing cycle.
Also this week, another hurdle was cleared: the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy finished handing out licenses to nine medical marijuana pharmacies throughout the state (a tenth will come at a later date).
Reports Gambit Weekly:
These moves follow 2015 and 2016 legislation that tasked several statewide agencies with coming up with the rules for medical marijuana in Louisiana. Those laws followed a dead-end 1978 medical marijuana law that sat dormant on the books without any legal infrastructure to back it up.
The goal is to produce a “plant that’s very low in THC and very high in CBD,” Bill Richardson, LSU Vice President for Agriculture and Dean of the College of Agriculture, told Gambit Weekly.
As to when the product will be available, that’s likely to happen in September, around the same time pharmacies will open.
But the plan doesn’t come without controversy. Some committee members worry about the possibility of legal conflicts with federal authorities, including how the state’s program is funded, and whether it conflicts with federal rules against marijuana.
Says Richardson, “I feel really good about where we are relative to the controversy between the state and feds. The complication for us is we’re the only university in the country that’s involved with this, with our counterparts at Southern.”
In 2016, Louisiana passed a law allowing the use of medical marijuana to treat certain conditions, including HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy and epilepsy. And earlier this month, as The Fresh Toast reported, a House committee voted to add four more qualifying conditions for patients: chronic pain, PTSD, glaucoma and muscle spasms.