State takes delivery of first Louisiana medical marijuana

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Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says his department now has medical marijuana for final testing, which means the product could be commercially available by early next month.

“If there are no problems, no contamination, and we don’t expect any, then hopefully by the end of the week or early next week there will be products moving to the market. That’s kind of the timetable.”

If approved, the products will be available at select pharmacies.

The medical pot was grown by GB Sciences, with oversight by LSU, and Ag Department workers picked up randomly selected vials of the product from them Monday.

“We test that final delivery, and we open the vial and we check it. We have to make sure that that first vial and that 100th vial, of course, are the same.”

The first products being offered are liquid extracts from the plant that will be dropped under the tongue, or put into an inhaler for patients that need a faster response.

Medical marijuana was authorized in Louisiana four years ago and proponents have hammered the state after the product was repeatedly delayed, but Strain says relative to most new treatments, this didn’t take very long…

“Under the DEA, to go from a plant to a drug normally takes eight to ten years and costs 100 million dollars. We will be able to go from plant to product in under two years.”

The treatment reportedly will not be covered by insurance, but an LSU Ag Center spokesperson says they expect the products to be cheaper than many CBD oils currently available.