Louisiana patients might have to wait several more months to secure medical marijuana—even though it was legalized four years ago after—the state Department of Agriculture this week denied an LSU AgCenter request to immediately begin full production, the Daily Advertiser reports.
The latest setback, according to the department, is because the AgCenter’s private partner, GB Sciences, is still behind schedule with a suitability check. GB Sciences has submitted all information and it is being reviewed by state police.
“While we are all eager to move forward, it is imperative that the laws are followed,” Tabitha Irvin, director or the agriculture department’s medical cannabis program, wrote in a letter blocking the request to her LSU AgCenter counterpart Ashley Mullens. “The laws exist to protect the consumer and the integrity of the program.”
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture regulates medical marijuana. LSU AgCenter officials and GB Sciences investors believe an attorney general’s opinion issued last Friday supports their position that contractors aren’t subject to the same suitability background checks as the licensee, which is the LSU AgCenter.
However, the Attorney General’s opinion has nothing to do with suitability, says Department of Agriculture Press Secretary Veronica Mosgrove, rather, the opinion is in regard to whether a state employee or a member of the state employee’s immediate family is exempt from having a contract with the licensee, in this case, LSU, even though the license was not awarded through the public bid process.
Not beginning production immediately could create another 14-week lag before a crop could be cultivated, AgCenter officials maintain.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated since its original publication with information that GB Sciences has submitted all information required and it is being reviewed by state police, and clarification on the Attorney General’s opinion.