Louisiana pharmacists permitted to dispense medical marijuana and patients waiting for it demanded Monday that state regulators allow therapeutic cannabis to reach shelves by May 15, and one of the growers said it hopes to have a “limited” supply by that deadline.
The ultimatum was issued at a meeting to update medical marijuana supporters on the status of the program, an indication of the mounting frustration that medicinal-grade pot still hasn’t reached patients nearly four years after lawmakers agreed to the dispensing framework.
We “are on the front line watching our patients suffer, and they’re asking us, ‘When?’” said Doug Boudreaux, a pharmacist and co-owner of the Shreveport medical marijuana dispensary permitted for northwest Louisiana. “We’re desperate for this medication.”
GB Sciences, contracted by LSU and one of two state-sanctioned growers, said it hopes to have a “limited release of product” by mid-May, available to patients with the most severe conditions.
It’s unclear who would be on that list to receive the first limited batch of product. John Davis, GB Sciences Louisiana president, predicted his company would have product available for all eligible patients around August, after background checks had been finished to allow the grower to move fully into its larger facility and start ramping up production.
Southern University’s grower, Ilera Holistic Healthcare, hasn’t started growing the plants yet, so it doesn’t expect to provide therapeutic cannabis to pharmacies until the fall.
Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain said he hopes to meet the May 15 deadline for GB Sciences to release its product to the market. But he didn’t commit to it, citing the need to ensure the product is safe.