LSU has pushed back the deadline to submit offers to operate its planned medical marijuana business to March 31. The original deadline was March 21.
Officials did not address the reason for the extension.
LSU and Southern University were granted the only Louisiana licenses for medical marijuana production by the state. Under state law, the medication will be limited to patients with certain conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, seizures, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis .
State law also requires the medication be dispensed in a liquid, capsules or pills, chewables, topical applications, trans-dermal patches or suppositories.
The LSU AgCenter has estimated it will cost $11.3 million to establish and operate a greenhouse, lab and production facility for five years. All of the money will be provided by the bidder, and the AgCenter estimates it will take five years for the business to turn a profit.
The Southern University Agricultural Center has estimated its proposed facility will require an initial investment of $5 million to $7 million. The university said the facility could be up and running by the end of the year.
The center's Internal Review Committee is now editing the draft of a request for a vendor to run the medical marijuana program and expects to issue the request in the next few weeks, said Janana Snowden, director of Southern’s Institute of Medicinal Plants.
Because medical conditions and delivery methods are restricted by state law, LSU AgCenter officials expect there will be a limited number of patients. The report estimates that 0.25 percent of people who suffer from allowable conditions will initially seek out medical marijuana. That projects to 1,441 patients, or 0.031 percent of Louisiana's population.
The LSU AgCenter includes three projections for the business, none of which contemplate any sales until 2018. At the low level, 2018 sales will be $727,000 and reach $13.1 million by 2024. But the business will still be losing money. At the mid-level, 2018 sales will be $1.4 million and hit $16.1 million by 2024. Revenue will outstrip expenses in 2023. At the high level, 2018 sales will be $2.4 million and rocket to $20.1 million by 2024. In this model, revenue will be higher than expenses by 2020.