The Louisiana Pharmacy Board postponed awarding a permit for a medical marijuana pharmacy to operate in the metro New Orleans area during its meeting Tuesday (March 27) in Baton Rouge. Instead, the board took all of the applications, including two that are seeking to open dispensaries in Metairie, under advisement until April 17.
The 17-member board, which state law mandated to oversee the permit process, has said it will issue operating permits to one pharmacy in each of the state’s nine designated health care regions. A 10th permit will be issued as needed.
The board was scheduled Tuesday to hear presentations from 12 companies that are seeking to dispense marijuana in Region 1, which includes New Orleans, as well as Region 2, 3 and 4. On Wednesday, the board is set to hear presentations from 14 companies seeking to operate in Regions 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
Louisiana law prohibits marijuana from being sold in any form that can be smoked. The forms sold at state-permitted pharmacies will include pills, topical creams and oils and can only be dispensed to patients with a doctor’s recommendation form.
The state-permitted pharmacies will dispense marijuana that will be produced and manufactured in various forms by vendors hired by Southern University and Louisiana State University, the only agricultural centers allowed by state law to grow the medicinal-grade marijuana.
Pharmacy Board Chairman Carl Aron said the three-week recess will allow members to review all of the applications and to form any questions they may have for company owners. Although a board’s subcommittee has reviewed and ranked most of the applicants, this week was the first time the rest of the board received the information, Aron said.
Five companies are competing for the medical marijuana operating permit for Region 1, which covers the New Orleans metro area, including Jefferson, Orleans, and St. Bernard parishes.
The applicants for Region 1 and their proposed locations include:
•The Rx Greenhouse, LLC, 3131 N. I-10 Service Rd E, Suite 101, Metairie
•GNO Medical Dispensary, LLC, 2701 Ridgeland Drive, Metairie
•P&C Herbals, LLC, 9930 Lake Forest Blvd, New Orleans East
•H&W Drug store, Inc., 4718 Paris Ave., New Orleans
•Express Way Pharmacy, LLC., 315 West Bank Expressway, Gretna