Earlier this year, the state of Louisiana introduced new legislation that would expand access to medical marijuana to patients with three conditions that previously would not have qualified – cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, glaucoma and spastic quadriplegia. They also created regulations that would allow the state to finally produce and sell medical marijuana via pharmacies, as long as it is to a qualified patient with a physician’s recommendation. Those regulations gave Louisiana State University and Southern University the first opportunity to grow cannabis for the state, if they would choose to take it.
That was back in April and May – now, nearly six months later, LSU and Southern University are preparing to begin building facilities off-campus for their Agriculture Centers to grow medical marijuana. However, there is still a lot that is not quite clear – especially to the general public – about how the medical marijuana program in the state will work. In an effort to clear things up a bit, LSU will be holding a forum, which will be open to the public (but closed off to anyone who doesn’t register ahead of time) in their Digital Media Center Theater on October 28th.
Now that the two universities have agreed to take on the challenge of growing medical marijuana, residents of the state can expect that access to that medicine will be roughly 18 months out. Louisiana State has already announced that they are expecting to spend at least $10 million in private funding to build the facilities, which will be located away from the school’s campus. Once the facilities are up and running it will only be a matter of time before they can sell the medical cannabis to pharmacies – which will have to build new locations specifically to dispense medical marijuana.
This is a great opportunity for both potential patients, who may have questions on how they will be able to qualify, what medical cannabis products will be available and how soon – as well as investors and those who own pharmacies who are interested in expanding to the medical marijuana industry. The State Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Board of Pharmacy and the Board of Medical Examiners will all be speaking at the forum to explain the regulations as they currently stand. While it is still a work in progress, every step forward is great news for medical marijuana patients in the state of Louisiana.