LSU extends deadline for medical marijuana cultivation applications

Marijuana cultivation businesses hoping to grow cannabis for Louisiana State University under a new medical marijuana law have more time to make their case.

LSU extended the deadline for growers to submit plans on how they would run the university’s MMJ cultivation operation to March 31, The Advocate of Baton Rouge reported. The original deadline was March 21.

School officials did not say why the deadline was extended.

Last year the state granted LSU and another Baton Rouge-based school, Southern University, exclusive licenses to grow medical cannabis.

The LSU Agricultural Center has estimated it will cost $11.3 million to set up and run a greenhouse, lab and production facility for five years, and the winning bidder will be responsible for funding the project. LSU estimates the program will take five years to achieve profitability.

Southern University’s Agricultural Center estimates it could cost up to $7 million to get its grow site going and hopes to issue a request for cultivation business plans in the next few weeks. The site could be operational before the end of the year, according to The Advocate.

A recent LSU report estimated that the medical marijuana program will initially have only 1,441 patients, or 0.031 percent of the state’s population, The Advocate reported. According to the report, sales in 2018 could range between $727,000 and $2.4 million but reach between $13.1 million and $20.1 million in 2024, according to the newspaper.

The state approved medical marijuana in 2015, but the program was seen as unworkable until officials took steps last year to create a regulated and viable MMJ market.