Update: Pharmacies to pick up first batch of medical marijuana on Tuesday.

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Update: Pharmacies will start picking up the first batch of medical marijuana products to give to patients in Louisiana on Tuesday morning.

That word late Thursday from leaders with GB Sciences, LSU’s sub-contractor on the project.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) completed testing Thursday on the first batch of medical marijuana produced by the group.

“We are pleased to announce that LSU-GBSL’s final medical marijuana product has passed all testing and is cleared for immediate release to the medical marijuana pharmacies,” Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. said. “We look forward to continuing our working relationship with LSU-GBSL and SU-ADB/ILERA as we move into the next phase of the program. We also want to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly from inception through production and testing to make this a reality.”

On Monday, July 29, 2019, a random sample of the medical marijuana final product was selected by the LDAF from LSU-GBSL. The sample was tested for homogeneity, potency and contaminants.

Patients in Louisiana have been waiting years for medical marijuana, after lawmakers created the regulatory framework for dispensing therapeutic cannabis in 2015. Regulatory disagreements slowed getting the product to shelves. Only the LSU and Southern University agricultural centers are authorized to grow medicinal-grade pot. GB Sciences is LSU’s grower.

Nine dispensing pharmacies across the state have been chosen by the pharmacy board and have readied their locations while awaiting the product. But it’s unclear how many of those dispensaries will immediately begin dispensing medical marijuana Tuesday. Delivery from the Baton Rouge growing facility could take longer, for example, to reach distant Shreveport than the dispensary only a few miles (kilometers) away.

Separately, Southern’s grower Ilera Holistic Healthcare planted its first crop last week and has estimated its first product could be available by the fall at the earliest.

Under the 2015 law and additional changes passed since then, Louisiana is allowing medical marijuana to treat a long list of diseases and disorders, such as cancer, seizure disorders, epilepsy, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease.

Marijuana can be available in medicinal oils, pills, liquids, topical applications and an inhaler, such as that used by asthma patients. GB Sciences’ first product to be released to pharmacies will be liquid tinctures, with a dropper for patients to use.

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