LSU AgCenter opts in to medical marijuana production initiative
BATON ROUGE - The LSU Board of Supervisors approved a resolution on Friday that will allow the LSU AgCenter to begin taking the necessary steps to produce medical marijuana as part of a state initiative.
Last month, the State Legislature passed a bill amending legislation that signed into law back in 2015 that allows people with certain debilitating medical conditions to obtain a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana. LSU and Southern’s agricultural centers were given the first right of refusal to be licensed as the production facility for medical marijuana.
“The AgCenter’s scientific reputation in best management practices for production of plant materials, crop variety development and collaboration with medical research scientists qualifies us for the medical marijuana production license in Louisiana,” said Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture.
LSU says that research has shown that marijuana-derived products can offer medical benefits to people suffering from a number of ailments including cancer, seizure disorders, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Now, the AgCenter will need to develop a plan of operation that addresses the financing, facilities, equipment, personnel and security needed for the pot initiative. No additional state funding will be provided to the university, and a third party will out the project with private financing under an agreement with the AgCenter.
Pennington Biomedical Research Center and LSU Health Sciences Center will offer expertise in product development for the various disease states and clinical trials as outlined by the law, according to LSU.
The growth and production of medical marijuana will be done according to stringent rules set forth by the State Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Rules for doctor recommendations will be set by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, and guidelines for distribution will be set by the State Board of Pharmacy.
The marijuana will be grown in a closed indoor facility with several layers of security. The LSU AgCenter says it plans to renovate an existing, private, off-campus facility for the purpose. No students will be involved in the initiative.
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