Medical marijuana products are expected to be available in Louisiana next week following approval Thursday by state regulators.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry completed testing on the first batch of medical marijuana produced by GB Sciences Louisiana, a subcontractor of LSU’s agricultural research center.

“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,” said Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain.

On Monday, LDAF selected a random sample of the final product, a marijuana extract to be delivered under the tongue with a dropper, that was tested for homogeneity, potency and contaminants. Smokeable marijuana is not legal in Louisiana.

Next Tuesday, Capitol Wellness Solutions, an approved dispensary in Baton Rouge, expects to make Louisiana's first legal medical-cannabis transaction.

Under state law, the LSU and Southern University agricultural research centers are the approved growers. LDAF is the primary official regulator. Several pharmacies around the state have been approved for distribution.

GB Sciences Louisiana is the LSU AgCenter’s contracted producer. Products will be provided to patients with qualifying medical conditions through a recommendation by a certified physician.

Lawmakers set up the framework for the state’s medical marijuana program in 2016. LSU-GBSL has blamed LDAF for causing delays with excessive bureaucracy, though Strain has pointed to the need to follow the legislature’s very specific directives.

Southern’s program has been delayed by internal problems at its original production partner. But the university and its current sub-contractor, Ilera Holistic Healthcare, were given permission to begin growing medical marijuana on July 22. Standard operating procedures have been approved and a Phase 1 facility is ready to begin the process of planting seeds, LDAF said.

Staff Reporter

David Jacobs is a Baton Rouge-based award-winning journalist who has written about government, politics, business and culture in Louisiana for almost 15 years. He joined The Center Square in 2018.