Louisiana State University is taking offers from contractors to grow and process weed for the state’s medical marijuana program.
LSU professor Dr. Ted Gauthier told WBRZ-TV that lots of people from out of state have shown a great deal of interest in doing the honors. He added that they expect to have about 10 finalists to choose from.
“We’re looking for somebody who will be able to provide the quality product for the patients in Louisiana who will be using the medical marijuana product,” said Gautheir, a researcher at LSU’s AgCenter Biotechnology Laboratory.
Louisiana’s medical marijuana bill was officially signed into law back in May 2016, making it the 25th state to legalize some type of MMJ program, although no one was allowed to grow or process cannabis until now.
And the word “officially” is important because Louisiana actually legalized medical marijuana in 1978, being the first U.S. state in the union to do so.
At that time, medical marijuana usage was limited to glaucoma patients and those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. But still, then-Governor Edwin Edwards had vision and took it seriously.
According to local TV station WAFB, LSU Vice President for Agriculture Bill Richardson is leading the Ag Center’s medical marijuana project, and he also takes his job very seriously.
“This is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States,” Richardson said. “We’ve learned a lot about it in the last several months. And there’s a lot of interest in what we’re doing in Louisiana. Our operation is strictly pharmaceutical.”
LSU and Southern University have exclusive rights to grow and distribute medical marijuana in Louisiana.
The current law calls for marijuana to be grown indoors, the facility to be located off LSU’s campus and for students not to be involved—hence the nationwide search.
When a contractor is selected, LSU will not release the facility’s location, however it must be based in East Baton Rouge Parish. The weed will be processed into a pill or ointment, then distributed to pharmacies across the state. The grow operation is estimated to cost $10 million and will be paid for by the contractor.
LSU expects to have a contractor hired by June and the first crop to be ready by the end of 2017.