Louisiana’s governor’s race: What the candidates say about medical marijuana

Louisiana Republican gubernatorial candidates Eddie Rispone and Ralph Abraham are more reserved about medical marijuana than Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is. The three men will run against each other in a statewide election in October.

State agriculture regulators have cleared Louisiana's first batch of medical marijuana for release to pharmacies, ending months of delays getting the product cleared for patients. 

John Davis, the head GB Sciences Louisiana, said medical marijuana will be released to pharmacies on Tuesday and that's when the first patients can get access to the drug.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry said Thursday evening it completed testing of a random sample of the marijuana tincture, which was produced by LSU and its contractor, GB Sciences. 

"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 said in a statement.

Strain said he looks forward to working with LSU and Southern University, the only other licensed grower in the state, on the coming phases of each school's marijuana operation.  

Louisiana lawmakers passed legislation four years ago that authorized medical marijuana, but various delays have kept the medicine from reaching patients. 

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The announcement by the agriculture department means GB Sciences and LSU are able to send the marijuana tincture bottles to nine medical marijuana pharmacies in various regions throughout the state. The product will cost between $90 and $200 a bottle at the Baton Rouge pharmacy depending on the formulation. 

“This has been a longtime coming. This is for all the patients, advocates, elected officials, two universities, department staff, employees, volunteers and anyone who took the risk to make this historic undertaking a reality. It is a great day for Louisiana. We couldn’t be more proud," said Jesse McCormick, executive director of Louisiana Association for Therapeutic Alternatives.


Email Sam Karlin at skarlin@theadvocate.com