Southern University defers decision on cultivator for medical marijuana program

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Southern University System Board of Supervisors deferred a decision Friday on selecting a company to run its medical marijuana cultivation and production facility. Bids from the three finalists, Southern Roots Therapeutics, MED Louisiana, and Advanced Biomedics, were presented during the meeting. The three finalists were narrowed down from a list of seven on August 17.

The board made the decision despite the Medical Marijuana Review Committee recommending the board select MED Louisiana. Board Members had reservations about all three finalists. Their main concerns were minority ownership, experience with creating medicine derived from medical marijuana, and ability to generate revenue for the university.

All three companies now have until the next board meeting on September 22 to present a final bid to the board. The motion passed by the board on Friday also gives the head of the Medical Marijuana Review Committee the ability to negotiate terms with either company.

In accordance with a state law passed in 2016, the LSU and Southern University agriculture centers are the only entities legally allowed to grow medical marijuana in Louisiana. The two universities will provide medicine derived from medical marijuana to ten state-sanctioned pharmacies.

During the meeting, the Medical Marijuana Review Committee said there are about 4,200 patients statewide that will qualify for the medicine. Southern University and LSU will theoretically split the available market, but the exact market share is yet to be determined. The university reported no taxpayer money will be spent on the program.

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