Southern Univ. becomes first HBCU to launch hemp product line to hit shelves by March

Updated: Jan. 30, 2020 at 5:29 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WAFB) - Southern University has become the first Historically Black College University (HBCU) to launch a hemp product line. The school’s agricultural research and extension center in Baton Rouge has partnered with Ilera Holistic Healthcare to deliver CBD to dispensaries in Louisiana.

The new product line is called ALAFIA. It comes in two forms: one with THC, and one without.

Leaders from both organizations held a press conference and ribbon cutting on Jan. 30 at the H&W Drug Store Dispensary in New Orleans.

"For patients who really have diagnosable conditions, this is accessible for them. They can come to one of the non-dispensaries to get this,” said Randy Mire, owner of Capitol Wellness Solutions. “It’s still a starting point. After they start a product like this, many of them need medical marijuana and at that point, they would visit with their doctor.”

Mire says the CBD would be a great introduction for patients like Courtney Woods, who suffers from chronic pain after a number of surgeries.

"Arthritis through my whole spinal cord, also have scar tissue that’s wrapped around a nerve that consistently squeezes onto the nerve, which consistently have me in pain,” Woods said.

Woods is already a medical marijuana patient, but says if she had access to a product like ALAFIA, she would have given it a shot before making the jump.

"It helps, it really helps for chronic pain, for arthritis, PTSD, anxiety,” she said. “It really helps.”

Besides the help it will provide, Juana Lombard, Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco commissioner, says having a university offering this in the backyard of Baton Rouge is great for local business.

“I encourage our retailers to start looking at the products coming out of this wonderful university. You don’t have to go any further than Baker if you want to know where the farm is at and it’s a thrill now to know that we are introducing another commerce stream into the retail end of CBD in Louisiana,” Lombard said.

From left to right: Orlando McMeans, PhD, chancellor-dean of the SU Ag Center and College of...
From left to right: Orlando McMeans, PhD, chancellor-dean of the SU Ag Center and College of Ag, Janana Snowden, PhD, director of the Center's Southern Institute of Medicinal Plants, and Ray Belton, president of the Southern University System showcase the University's CBD products before a press conference and ribbon-cutting held at H&W Drug Store Dispensary on Jan. 30. Southern University is the first Historically Black College University (HBCU) to launch a hemp product line.(D'Andre Lee | SU Ag Center)

“This is an exciting time for healthcare and business here in the state of Louisiana, and Southern University is honored to be a part of it all,” said Ray Belton, president of the Southern University System. “Southern has been a leader in agriculture and the sciences for 140 years while staying true to its mission of access. This CBD venture with Ilera encompasses all of that. We look forward to advancing this vision and serving as a model for other universities.”

Since the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, or the Farm Bill, was passed, hemp-derived CBD is legal for sale in all 50 states. ALAFIA, which means “inner peace” in the Yoruba language, is scientifically formulated, lab tested, and pesticide-free.

“We are excited about the launch of ALAFIA,” said Osagie Imasogie, chairman of Ilera Holistic Healthcare. “Our team created a superior hemp derived product with patients in mind. We are proud of this partnership with Southern and look forward to announcing the next phase of this groundbreaking rollout.”

Currently on the market are two formulated PURE CBD tinctures: Isolate CBD with 500 mg ($40) and 1,000 mg ($80) and Full Spectrum CBD with 500 mg ($40) and 1,000 mg ($80). Additional CBD products will be released soon.

“Our vision has always been patient access and affordability,” said Chanda Macias, CEO of Ilera Holistic Healthcare. “It was imperative for us to bring high-quality products that support health and wellness. Patients now have the ability to purchase ALAFIA over the counter without a prescription anywhere it is available.”

Retailers and distributors locally and nationally can expect products on shelves by the end of February. To learn more about distribution and retail locations, visit

Currently, the product can be found at the following locations:

  • H&W Drug Store: 1667 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans
  • Capitol Wellness Solutions: 7491 Picardy Ave., Baton Rouge
  • Green Leaf Dispensary: 6048 W Park Ave., Houma
  • The Apothecary Shoppe: 620 Guilbeau Rd., Suite A, Lafayette
  • Medicis: 1727 Imperial Blvd., Building 4, Lake Charles
  • The Medicine Cabinet Pharmacy: 403 Bolton Ave., Alexandria
  • Hope Pharmacy: 1410 Kings Hwy., Suite A, Shreveport
  • Willow Pharmacy: 1519 Hwy. 22 West, Suite 5, Madisonville

More: Health benefits of CBD earn high praise. But what does the research show?

The university partnered with Ilera in November of 2018 after a contract with Advanced Biomedics went sour.

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