The LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture at odds over medical marijuana in Louisiana.
The LSU AgCenter responded to allegations made Agricultural Commissioner Mike Strain.
The spokesperson for the LSU AgCenter provided this statement:
“The LSU AgCenter received written approval on February 28, 2019, from the Director of LDAF’s Medical Marijuana Program to move into two rooms within the new main production facility. LDAF attorney Tabitha Irvin wrote to the LSU AgCenter:
‘After careful consideration and in an effort to get the product to the pharmacies for the citizens of Louisiana, the commissioner of agriculture and forestry has decided to grant LSU AgCenter the authority to move plant material into the requested rooms (Mother room and Vegetative room) in the main facility.’
Relying on this written approval from the LDAF, the LSU AgCenter moved plant material into the two specific rooms on Friday, March 1, 2019.
The following Monday, a LDAF inspector issued a deficiency notice to the LSU AgCenter for doing what Commissioner Strain expressly approved the week before. Then Commissioner Strain made reckless and unsupported public accusations against the LSU AgCenter and GB Sciences Louisiana and threatened litigation.
The allegations made by Commissioner Strain are simply untrue.
The LSU AgCenter and GB Sciences Louisiana have provided all information requested by the LDAF regarding suitability and operations. Further, the LSU AgCenter and GB Sciences Louisiana have passed all inspections, benchmarks, and tests administered by the LDAF – all of which is fully supported by public documentation.
The state legislature approved Louisiana’s Medical Marijuana Program three years ago. The LSU AgCenter conducted a thorough competitive public bid process to select GB Sciences Louisiana as its public-private partner, and has worked incredibly hard since then to get the program up and running. Commissioner Strain’s actions are preventing thousands of patients from receiving the medical relief that they are anxiously awaiting and deserve.
The LSU AgCenter calls on Commissioner Mike Strain to immediately allow this program to proceed, so that the patients of Louisiana can receive the medicine to which they are legally entitled.”
Commissioner Strain responded with this statement:
“Nothing is being done to hinder production of medical marijuana. The reason for issuing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to allow LSU AgCenter, the licensee, to supervise its subcontractor, GBSL, during hours of operation at the facility until the suitability determination is approved.
“LSU, the licensee, is deemed suitable by law, but GBSL, the subcontractor, is not. Suitability, as required by law, includes but is not limited to criminal, civil and financial background checks. In accordance with the MOU, LSU can supervise GBSL, the subcontractor, until the suitability process is completed and approved by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
“As of now, LSU-GBSL is not in compliance. Again, the LDAF cannot give LSU-GBSL the authority to break the law. However, LSU-GBSL can be in compliance to only move plant material into the requested rooms (Mother room and Vegetative room) by signing the MOU which was clearly a requirement as noted in the original letter dated February 28, 2019.”