Southern University harvesting first medical marijuana crop next week

    Amid years of delays, the first batch of medical marijuana by Southern University will finally be harvested next week, AgCenter Chancellor-Dean Orlando McMeans announced at today’s Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon. 

    With the harvest, McMeans estimates medical marijuana products by the school and its contracted grower, Ilera Holistic Healthcare, could be on licensed pharmacy shelves within 30 to 60 days. Last summer, Southern announced the first crop was planted and could be available to consumers fall of 2019. 

    As part of its contract with Ilera, Southern receives $1 million per year as well as 5% of profits from sales, according to McMeans. If the program is profitable, the money will be reinvested into the school’s medical marijuana, rather than used on other university projects or expenses, he says, adding that the school has plans to hire two research plant scientists in March with funds. 

    McMeans told reporters Southern has no projections on how much it will receive from sales because they haven’t sold anything yet, but roughly two weeks ago, the school and Ilera began selling a CBD product, the first of its kind to be released by a historically black college or university. Asked whether the school launched the CBD product without developing sales projections to see if such a product would be profitable, McMeans told Daily Report that Ilera had its own projections. 

    McMeans didn’t provide details on Ilera’s projections, but did say the school believes those numbers have changed because of “unforeseen circumstances.”

    “There were some questions regarding how real the projections could be,” McMeans says. “We’re reassessing those projections.”

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