Louisiana could be producing medical cannabis by end of year

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One of the two establishments legally allowed to grow medical cannabis in Louisiana says it could have a grow operation up and running before the end of the year.

The state’s restrictive MMJ program permits only Southern University and Louisiana State University (LSU) to grow cannabis for legal patients, which has led many observers to conclude that the Bayou State’s MMJ program is not really viable and will never get off the ground.

But Southern is planning to issue a call next month for bidders to run its MMJ grow for at least five years, according to The Advocate. The application period will last 30-45 days, according to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, and the winning vendor must invest roughly $5 million-$7 million in the operation.

LSU issued a similar call for a contractor to run its grow operation earlier this month.

Southern’s cultivation site will be located at the university’s agricultural experiment station, approximately 5 miles from the main campus. The site has received the green light from local law enforcement, and the dean of the college of agriculture has apparently already met with about 30 growers “who expressed interest,” The Advocate reported.

Applicants that want to throw their hats in the ring for the Southern University MMJ contract must undergo rigorous screening, including a background check that examines professional ties, finances and any criminal history.

Estimates on when MMJ may be available for Louisiana patients still run the gamut from late 2017 to sometime in 2018, according to the Business Report.