Can Louisiana’s fledgling medical marijuana industry keep up with demand?

Can Louisiana’s fledgling medical marijuana industry keep up with demand?

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Come Take a Look Hide caption A recent expansion of treatable conditions in Louisiana’s fledgling medical marijuana program could grow the industry by millions of dollars and move the state’s once-narrow program closer to a full-blown medical marijuana industry seen in other states. But those close to the industry also worry that some of the rules on the program will place bottlenecks on production, and wonder whether the state’s two growers — only one of which is close to getting product on the shelves — will be able to meet the heightened demand. The strain of demand depends in part on how quickly and how many doctors get on board, given that the state limits them to 100 patients each for a nonsmokable product that is expected to be available later this year. There also is a limit of 10 medical marijuana pharmacies spread regionally through the state. ‘MASSIVE INCREASE’ Legislation signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards expanded the program by adding intractable pain and several other conditions to an original list of 10 diseases that qualify for medical marijuana. “It’s a massive, massive increase,” said Brian Rudin, a Colorado-based dispensary owner and co-owner of the Lafayette region’s planned marijuana pharmacy. “It’s the difference between a handful of (patients) and potentially a massive amount of people that suffer from chronic pain that would see relief with cannabis.” “It is the golden standard for therapeutic marijuana programs,” Kevin Caldwell, head of CommonSense NOLA, said of intractable pain being added. The dozens of people who staked out risky positions as the state’s exclusive growers and pharmacies dispensing the drug did so expecting to weather losses in the first few years. Once they got in on the ground floor, many expected the state to eventually widen the program and turn it into […]

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