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Medical marijuana is expected to start reaching select dispensaries in Louisiana on Aug. 6, 2019, after the state agriculture department completed final testing and cleared therapeutic cannabis for release to patients.

Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain announced Aug. 1 that GB Sciences, one of two state-sanctioned growers, can begin shipping to Louisiana's registered dispensaries. Strain thanked “everyone who has worked tirelessly from inception through production and testing to make this a reality.”

John Davis, GB Sciences Louisiana president, told The Associated Press that the company is coordinating with the dispensaries to start delivering medical marijuana in the state on Aug. 6.

“I can't tell you how excited we are for patients,” Davis said.

Patients in Louisiana have been waiting years for medical marijuana after lawmakers created the regulatory framework for dispensing therapeutic cannabis in 2015. Regulatory disagreements slowed getting the product to shelves. Only the Louisiana State University (LSU) and Southern University agricultural centers, both in Baton Rouge, the capital, are authorized to grow medicinal marijuana. GB Sciences is LSU's grower.

Nine dispensing pharmacies across the state have been chosen by the pharmacy board and have readied their locations while awaiting the product. But it's unclear how many of those dispensaries will immediately begin dispensing medical marijuana in early August 2019. Delivery from the Baton Rouge growing facility could take longer, for example, to reach distant Shreveport than the dispensary only a few miles away.

Separately, Southern's grower, Ilera Holistic Healthcare, planted its first crop in late July 2019 and has estimated its first product could be available by the fall at the earliest.

Louisiana lawmakers first set up the framework for medical marijuana in 2015. Four years later, the first legal medical marijuana products are set to reach dispensaries Aug. 6, 2019. (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps News)

Under the 2015 law and additional changes passed since then, Louisiana is allowing medical marijuana to treat a long list of diseases and disorders, such as cancer, seizure disorders, epilepsy, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Parkinson's disease.

Marijuana can be available in medicinal oils, pills, liquids, topicals, and an inhaler, such as that used by asthma patients. GB Sciences' first product to be released to pharmacies will be tinctures.

-- Melinda Deslatte

Feature Image: Medical marijuana will be available in tinctures, topicals, capsules, and inhalers when the first shipments arrive in Louisiana dispensaries on Aug. 6, 2019. (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps News)

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