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Nevada firm picked to run LSU medical marijuana program

The LSU AgCenter has selected Nevada-based GB Sciences Inc. to be the sole operator of the university’s medical marijuana program.

GB Sciences is a biopharma firm that specializes in creating medicines and treatments by extracting compounds from cannabis. The firm is licensed to grow marijuana and has interests in two Las Vegas dispensaries.  

The AgCenter is asking the LSU Board of Supervisors to enter into a five-year agreement—that has an option to renew for two additional five-year terms—with the firm.

The contract includes a minimum guaranteed financial contribution of $3.4 million, or a 10% commission of gross receipts, to the LSU AgCenter, according to documents submitted to the board. It also requires GB Sciences to make annual research investment of $500,000 to the LSU AgCenter.

The dollars would be used to conduct research on plant varieties, compounds, extraction techniques and delivery methods that could generate additional revenue through discoveries that are subject to intellectual property rights. AgCenter would retain 50% of those rights.

The contract negotiations are pending approval from the LSU Board of Supervisors, which meets June 22.

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed legislation last year jumpstarting the Louisiana medical marijuana program and expanding the list of diseases that can be treated with the drug. LSU and Southern University are the only entities licensed to grow and distribute the drug in an oil or pill form.

The LSU AgCenter issued a Solicitation for Offers to potential vendors in July 2016. GB Sciences was one of seven companies to respond. The other companies were Columbia Care Louisiana, CB Medica, Citiva LA, Southern Roots Therapeutics, Fourrier House and Terah Holdings. Only four the seven bidders met the mandatory minimum qualifications, documents say.

A team of five representatives from the LSU AgCenter, Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the LSU Health New Orleans reviewed the proposals.

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