Southern grows closer to cultivating medical marijuana
BATON ROUGE - Southern University’s Board of Supervisors called a special meeting Friday to approve a medical marijuana contractor/vendor for the university.
The school will be one of two medical marijuana producers in Louisiana. The committee assigned to researching the seven companies who applied to grow the plants presented their findings Friday.
“The companies that we brought to the board today were selected based on their overall applications that were submitted, based on their expertise that they serve in these areas, products that they could provide, and the opportunity to get to market soon,” Dr. Janana Snowden, Director of the Medicinal Plant Institute said.
While the university hoped to make their final decision on just one company, Southern’s board had many questions for the committee who narrowed down the choices.
“We have decided on the three vendors, and I’m hoping they will go back and give us even more to absorb and perhaps give us a better deal,” Chairwoman Ann A. Smith said.
The three standing companies, Southern Roots Therapeutics, Med Louisiana, and Advanced Bio medics were chosen on a 1,000-point scale. The highest scoring company, Med Louisiana received a score of 883. The other two fell below Med Louisiana by 20 and 50 points.
Major talking points consisted of annual gross income, commission, and minority participation. Another topic discussed was how quickly and efficiently each company could start production.
Board members raised concerns over Med Louisiana’s lack of minority participation, to which Southern Roots promoted their company, sharing they have a 41 percent African-American and woman ownership.
"They gave us very good information. The board asked many questions and the committee members were very informed, very well prepared," White said. "I think now they can absorb the information, look at the vendors, and perhaps get even a better deal for our sister, for our students for our students and for the university."
The committee’s findings were based on a scale of 4,200 possible patients divided in half. 4,200 is the total amount of eligible Louisiana residents able to get medical marijuana prescriptions.
Board members voiced their opinions based on the research of funds each company would generate for Southern. Currently, Advanced Bio Medics would guarantee 1 million every year, plus a 1 million dollar signing bonus. Southern Roots Therapeutics guarantee is 3.5 million over 5 years with a 10 percent commission. Med Louisiana guarantees 1.5 million over five years even if they don’t make a dime. However, their commission is at 5.82 percent based on operating revenue commission.
All companies are flexible in their location of the growing facility and will take until September 22nd to revise and edit their bids as they are vying to be the last company standing.
“At this point, we want to make sure we have a company that is legitimate and can do the very best job at making the medical marijuana,” White said.