NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Louisiana Department of Agriculture accused LSU of breaking the rules for moving into their main medical marijuana growing facility, creating yet another setback for the treatment option.
A letter from the state shows Dept. of Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain granted LSU permission to move into two rooms of the facility if they signed a memorandum listing the terms and conditions. However, LSU Agriculture Center coordinator Ashley Mullens said they would not sign the contract because they believe the terms exceed the state’s authority.
So, Mullen said they moved in anyway, based on the written approval by the commissioner -- a decision that has yet again, halted progress in making medical marijuana available to consumers.
In the meantime, patients like Edwick Green are the ones left waiting.
“I’m having severe muscle spasms daily, multiple times, and I know that the medical marijuana would help," Green said. "And I don’t want to go to illegal ways to get it, so I’m trying to hold out, but I don’t know how long I’m going to be holding out.”
Dr. Victor Chou -- a physician licensed to recommend medical marijuana and the founder of the Medical Marijuana Clinic of Louisiana -- said until
“I’ve had hundreds of patients that have been eagerly awaiting access to this product for over a year now. We were told that the first batch would be available August of 2018. Now it’s six months from there, and with this recent stand off, basically, I don’t even realistically know what to expect at this point in time," Chou said.
Southern University also runs a medical marijuana program, which has in the past been running behind LSU. However, this latest disagreement could change that.
“It could get stuck in judicial proceedings for who knows how long, and Southern and Ilera may potentially have a product to market before LSU and GB [Sciences]," Chou said, referring to LSU Agriculture’s partners in medical marijuana development.
Stuck in the middle, Green and other patients are tired of the delays.
“Every time you hear it, you wonder what’s next. It makes it very frustrating for you to handle because you don’t know what to expect," Green said.
Governor John Bel Edwards weighed in on the dispute between LSU officials and Strain over medical marijuana, according to our partners at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. Edwards urged them to resolve their issues to avoid further delays for patients, NOLA.com reported, but Edwards refused to blame either side for the numerous delays.
Mullens called upon Strain in a letter to allow LSU to immediately proceed with their program. Strain replied, stating he is not trying to hinder their progress, but stands firm in his belief that the school broke the law by moving into the facility without agreeing to the state’s terms and conditions.