University of Louisiana Gets the “Go Ahead” to Work With Cannabis
Updated: Aug 1
We have some great news for patients who have their own Louisiana Marijuana Card!
State lawmakers recently cleared University of Louisiana Monroe’s School of Pharmacy to do cannabis research, making it only the third facility in the state that is permitted to do so.
Bill Will Expand Medical Marijuana Research
Representative Michael Echols, sponsor of the bill that added Monroe’s School of Pharmacy, told KARD, Monroe’s Fox affiliate, that this is about increasing marijuana research.
“Louisiana State University and Southern University have been the only two schools in the state that can do research around hemp and marijuana but not anymore,” Echols said. “We were able to add to some of the bills flowing through the process to give ULM the opportunity to do some of that strategic research.”
And indeed much more “strategic research” is needed in order to improve marijuana laws in Louisiana as well as nationally.
Experts Say Medical Marijuana Research Is “Bottlenecked”
Despite the growing body of scientific evidence reporting that medical marijuana is safe and effective, and even though it is legal in thirty-six states, the federal government still considers cannabis a Schedule I drug. That means Uncle Sam thinks it has “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.”
Consequently, there are many legal obstacles for researchers who choose to study marijuana, which limits the number of studies dedicated to the medicine. In the words of Harvard researcher Dr. Staci Gruber, cannabis research is “bottlenecked because of limitations on studying the Cannabis sativa plant.”
Gruber told Discover Magazine that lawmakers usually want impeccably conclusive findings regarding medical marijuana before they’ll act to ease marijuana restrictions. But thanks to the legal impediments to cannabis studies, scientists are often unable to give legislators that kind of full-throated endorsement to medical marijuana.
Armstrong noted that BRIP and ULM will still be bound by federal and certain state regulations, but added that he doesn’t think those rules will impede their research. “Those guidelines don’t look like they should be a problem, though,” Dr. Armstrong added.
With one more institution in the state cleared to do some of that research, hopefully Louisiana’s lawmakers will be able to continue improving conditions for cannabis patients, and hopefully the cause of expanding medical marijuana access nationally is strengthened as well.
Cannabis Discoveries Are “Too Great Not to Move Forward”
“There are too many positive potential usages in various drug protocols to pass up,” Susan Nicholson, a board member for the nonprofit group Biomedical Research and Innovation Park (BRIP) told KARD.
“The discoveries that are being made in hemp and marijuana research about its uses and proven medical benefits are too great not to move forward,”
Dr. Ray Armstrong, a fellow BRIP board member, told KARD. Armstrong says the possibilities for marijuana and hemp have barely been touched. He envisions a day when we’ll use products like “hempcrete” or “hemplime,” products that will be “even stronger and lighter than concrete.”
$35 Million Cannabis Research Facility Being Planned at ULM
BRIP has been working with ULM to build a research facility near the School of Pharmacy, and those plans have now been expanded to include cannabis research. According to Nicholson, the university and nonprofit are collaborating on a 20-acre research park that could hold any marijuana and hemp research as well as other projects.
Nicholson told KARD that developers expect the project to cost around $35 million and the park’s engineering and construction phase is expected to begin in early 2023.
“The endgame is to try and work with researchers at ULM College of Pharmacy to build a number of facilities to enhance what we have at the school of pharmacy facility with biomedical developments,” Nicholson said.
Bill Should Stimulate State Economy, Create Jobs
Representative Echols’ bill also permits ULM to provide medical marijuana certification testing to the state’s medical marijuana industry.
Echols told LouisianaRadioNetwork.com that “They have the School of Pharmacy at ULM, the state’s only publicly-funded school of pharmacy…and so there was a real key relationship between some of the products that are being produced out there now, and the new pharmaceutical products that could be produced. We wanted ULM to have a chance to do some some research in that space.”
Echols told the network that his bill would stimulate economic growth in the state as well as potentially lead to new discoveries that will benefit cannabis patients. He said the facility will generate up to $1 million in revenue from testing services alone, with research perhaps opening up further revenue streams.
Don’t Miss Out on “Unlimited Potential”
Echols also stressed that the real value in his bill and the new cannabis facility won’t be the jobs created or revenue generated, but rather the research that will benefit patients.
“Now, as far as pharmaceutical research goes, if they are able to find new drugs and new potential for that particular strain then there’s… unlimited potential,” Echols told the network.
Why miss out on the “unlimited potential” of medical marijuana? It’s now easier than ever before to get approved for a Louisiana Marijuana Card, and you can even do it online! To find out if medical marijuana is right for you, and reserve an evaluation online today with one of our compassionate, knowledgeable doctors!
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At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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