click to enlarge PHOTO BY FREEIMAGES.COM/NEBULA HAZE
Medical marijuana products could be available to Louisiana patients as early as September — 40 years after state lawmakers first approved marijuana for medical use.
Officials from Louisiana State University and Southern University — the stewards of the state crops to be processed into marijuana-based medicines — presented rough timelines and budgets to the joint House and Senate agriculture committee April 18, the same week the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy awarded competitive, potentially lucrative licenses to nine medical marijuana pharmacies that will cover the entire state.
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.
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Current law allows only for oil-, cream- and pill-based cannabidiol products, not smokeable pot, to treat cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s disease, cachexia and epilepsy.
This year, Louisiana lawmakers also considered allowing medical marijuana to treat glaucoma, severe muscle spasms, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.
LSU will grow plants in an undisclosed 27,000 square foot building in Baton Rouge (“the thought of having 40 acres of weed growing out in the country does not exist,” said Bill Richardson, LSU Vice President for Agriculture and Dean of the College of Agriculture). GB Sciences will build a 5,000 square foot lab for research and production following the plants’ eight- to ten-week growing cycle.
Las Vegas-based GB Sciences