BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A group of Louisiana marijuana pharmacists demanded the state have final medicinal product available by May 15 at a stakeholder’s meeting Monday, Mar. 25.
The pharmacists in the Louisiana Association for Therapeutic Alternatives (LATA) group say they are frustrated with repeated delays to the program’s roll-out.
“We need this medication. We’re desperate for the medication,” LATA president and Shreveport marijuana pharmacist, Doug Boudreaux, said. “If there are any adverse events affecting any patient in Louisiana, it will be the responsibility of the people in this room.”
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture (LDAF) allowed the state’s grower, GB Sciences, to move their operations from a temporary facility into their full warehouse Mar. 22. GB Sciences Vice President John Davis says the additional space will increase production by 400 percent.
The two parties were caught in a months-long fight over background checks and testing procedures that nearly landed in court.
Davis says his group is aiming to have a limited amount of medicine available in May. GB Sciences will combine its first two crops, harvested in October and February, to get the system rolling.
It’s unclear how many patients will have access to the first batch of medicine and how much will be available, but Davis did say he would work with the boards of Pharmacy and Medical Examiners to determine who can qualify for early medication based on immediate need.
“We have hit an important inflection point in the therapeutic cannabis program,” Davis said.
GB Sciences still has to create the medicine, which LDAF will test for metals and pesticides. The first batch of medicine will come as a tincture with three different ratios of CBD to THC, two components in marijuana that have different effects on the brain. CBD acts as a painkiller and THC is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that creates the high some recreational users feel when they consume the plant.
“We are excited. We are smiling because we’re happy it feels like we’re finally here,” LATA’s Jesse McCormick said. “We think that we have a lot of positives for the State of Louisiana. We can be leaders.”
Once the full program rolls out in August, the growers will begin producing different kinds of medicine with more specific ratios.
Southern University also reported its marijuana operation is on track for full roll-out in the fall.