METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - Metairie may soon be home to the first medical marijuana dispensary in the Greater New Orleans area.
"We were excited to find out we were ranked number one by the board subcommittee, and now we're just waiting for the final board approval so we can go ahead and start construction," Dr. Sajal Roy said.
Some qualifying conditions are cancer, HIV, epilepsy and Crohn's disease.
Patients need to first get a recommendation from their doctor.
"It's only good for 30 days. So then the patient would have to return to their physician provider and discuss how it's going, and then if the physician feels that it's working, the patient will get a new certification for another month," Roy said.
He said LSU and Southern University would supply the product.
"A lot of people think that patients are going to come here and get smokable marijuana, there are no smokable forms. Everything's going to be a tablet or oil, but every...unit piece has to be accounted for from seed to sale," Roy said.
Roy owns the pharmacy upstairs, which he said inspired the dispensary downstairs to provide different treatment options for patients.
"A lot of them are not getting the results they need. So we're very passionate about having an extra tool in our toolkit to be able to help patients get to where they need to be so they can have a better quality of life," Roy said.
He believes marijuana is a good alternative to prescription medicine.
"Because it's a different receptor system, you don't have a lot of the side effects that you would see with other medications, and it tends to work a little bit better in some circumstances. For instance, if you go to seizures, there's a study out that the FDA actually reviewed where seizures were decreased by 40%," Roy said.
Executive Director of the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Joyce Bracey said while she believes marijuana is addictive, the dispensary could be a good resource.
"As long as they are following the regulations that the state of Louisiana put forth, then there shouldn't be too much potential for problems. We're very happy to find that they're not going to be selling smokable products," Bracey said.