State waiting to complete testing before distributing medical marijuana

Updated: Apr. 17, 2019 at 6:38 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Hundreds of patients in Louisiana have been waiting for medical marijuana to hit the shelves since it was approved back in 2015. A handful of pharmacies were approved to distribute the drug, however, red tape and delays have pushed the much anticipated roll-out back.

"We have a goal, everyone has a goal of May,” said Mike Strain, commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF).

Strain says his department is working quickly to get the product out, but testing will not be rushed.

“If you were just creating a smokable product, then it would still require pesticide testing for sure because that’s what has popped up in other states,” he said. “You know, we’d make sure there were adulterants that may’ve been introduced to the soil, the air, the water, or however it could’ve gotten in there, but it would be a lot less complicated than testing these products.”

Capital Wellness Solutions is one of the pharmacies awaiting the first products. As the only one approved to dispense marijuana in Baton Rouge, owner, Randy Mire, says the wait has been frustrating, but he’s happy the state is working to ensure safety.

“In other states they’ve had to go back and they’ve found out there were pesticides and other things in there. We got to make sure none of that ever happens,” Strain said. “Yes we are very stringent, but we want to make sure when that product is released it is absolutely as safe as it can be.”

The commissioner says he hopes testing will be complete by May 15.

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