WDSU Investigates: ‘Growing Concerns’ – LSU shares medical marijuana ‘buds’ with Southern, AG commissioner responds

On January 1, 2022, smokable marijuana can be recommended for patients in Louisiana for a variety of ailments.

For weeks, some doctors who can recommend medical marijuana have claimed that when the smokable version is allowed, the supply won’t be there.

“The answer here is, we do not have enough growers,” said Dr. Rubin Patel, a physician who recommends the medicine to patients.

Right now, medicinal marijuana inhalers, gummies and droplets are sold in this state.

Many expect a surge in demand when the smokable version is legal.

“Do you think the supply will keep up with the demand?” WDSU’s Travers Mackel said.

“I do, yes,” said Dr. Mike Strain of the Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture.

Strain regulates the ever-expanding medical marijuana industry.

“I do think we have to understand what the overall demand will be,” Strain said.

In this state, two universities have licenses to grow all the state’s medical marijuana — Louisiana State University and Southern University. Both farm out that work to private companies.

Records obtained by WDSU Investigates show — and Strain confirms — that Southern recently obtained “buds” from LSU in April and again in May.

So we asked, is that allowed?

“Well they are working together and it permissible under the law — it just has to be entered into a tracking system,” Strain said.

In a written statement, Southern’s growing partner, Ilera Holistic Healthcare, said, “Southern University, Ilera Holistic Healthcare, Louisiana State University, and Wellcana continuously work together to find creative ways to best serve Louisiana patients. We are always willing to evaluate opportunities to work together with other companies so long as the outcome will be best for patients. While we as a company are not at liberty to discuss any specific transactions, we do not dispute any public records.”

LSU’s partner also addressed the transaction.

“It’s very common for businesses in any industry to cooperate, especially this one,” said John Davis, CEO of Wellcana.

But doctors that say this type of activity – the two growers sharing resources — only strengthens their argument, that the state needs more growers.

“We can’t keep up with the demand,” Patel said.

Ilera Holistic Healthcare also added: “Ilera Holistic has always maintained that our number one commitment is to meet the needs of our Louisiana patients, and that is a commitment we share with our counterparts at Louisiana State University and Wellcana. Putting the patients first creates a spirit of cooperation, and as the patient market grows, so must we. For example, IHH is currently finishing its new Medibles production facility to launch our first gelatin-chew products soon, while continuing to deliver our MDIs (metered dose inhalers), tinctures and topicals. We have moved into our new cultivation facility, which will expand our capabilities as we prepare for the first smokable flower sales in January of 2022.”

READ MORE:WDSU Investigates: ‘Growing Concerns’ – LSU shares medical marijuana ‘buds’ with Southern, AG commissioner responds

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