Seven firms apply to run LSU’s medical marijuana operation

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Seven Louisiana companies have applied to run a new medical marijuana operation overseen by the Louisiana State University’s AgCenter, moving the state another step closer to a functional MMJ system.

According to The Advocate of Baton Rouge, the applicants include Columbia Care Louisiana LLC of New Roads; CB Medical LLC of Alexandria; GB Sciences Louisiana of New Orleans; Citiva LA LLC of Mandeville; Southern Roots Therapeutics LLC of Baton Rouge; Terah Holdings LLC of Shreveport; and Fourrier House LLC in Louisiana. Applications were due at the end of March.

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

Under Louisiana’s restrictive MMJ program, only LSU and Southern University are permitted to grow cannabis and manufacture MMJ products, while newly established “pharmacies” will take care of sales to registered patients. The pharmacies will operate much like dispensaries.

Otherwise, some of the best business opportunities will be for third-party companies to run the day-to-day operations at either LSU or Southern.

LSU will likely take several more weeks to evaluate the applicants before making a selection, The Advocate reported.

The company that wins the contract will have to process MMJ into nonsmokable forms, such as pills, oils, topicals or suppositories, given that smoking cannabis remains illegal under Louisiana’s medical cannabis law.