Overview of SB 271 (Act 96)
Has Southern expressed interest as a producer of medical marijuana for the state of Louisiana? Senate Bill 271 (Act 96) by Senator Mills gives the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center and the LSU Agricultural Center the right of first refusal to be licensed, either separately or jointly, as the production facility for medical marijuana in the state of Louisiana. The law required each Ag Center to make the determination of whether it would exercise its right of first refusal by Sept. 1, 2016. The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center submitted their written Letter of Intent to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry on August 23, 2016 opting in as a producer of medical marijuana.
Does the facility have to be located on Southern Universityís property? As this project is still in the early stages, it has yet to be determined the status of the property or facility location. We are in continuous communication with all state entities involved so that these particulate matters are addressed.
What are Southernís plans for financing the operation? The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center plans to enter into an agreement via a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) with the Southern University System Foundation who would then contract a third party to finance and implement the entire operation. This includes but is not limited to: facility construction, hiring of qualified personnel, cultivation, extraction, processing, quality assurance/quality control, formulation, distribution and transportation.
How will the vendor be selected to run the operation? A Request for Proposals (RFP) will be issued to identify the most capable medical marijuana production applicants based on experience, qualifications and alignment with the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Centerís mission and goals. It will include provisions addressing financial resources and viability, operational plans and technical ability, building design and security, product safety, and all other critical components for successful program participation. A selection committee comprised of relevant technical reviewers will review, evaluate and score all submitted applications based on developed scoring system. The applicant with the highest score will receive an offer for the contract.
How will production impact Southern as it relates to revenue for the University? As set up and intended by the Louisiana Legislature, the production of medical marijuana at the University would generate additional revenue to assist in sustainment of operations and existing programs.
Are there plans for Southern and LSU to partner in this endeavor? Both the Southern Ag Center and the LSU Ag Center have elected to obtain separate licenses for production of medical marijuana.
Will small investors be able to get in on this business venture? It is the intention of Southern University Ag Center to contract/partner with one applicant that can operate the entire "seed to saleĒ process. However, it does not restrict multiple small investors partnering to address all qualifying parameters of the RFP.
Does Southern have plans for research and development? Yes, the Southern University Ag Center has recently developed the Medicinal Plant Institute that will conduct cutting edge research employing cannabis as one of many plants that will be investigated for their medicinal properties and uses.
What type of facility is Southern considering for the operation? Although there is much debate about the various types of facilities for maximum cultivation yield, the Southern University Ag Center plans to construct a highly secured indoor facility to perform all functions of the operation as required by state law.
What happens to my investment should the law changes with new administration? As a potential applicant, you must keep in mind that as the law is currently written, production of medical marijuana by a licensed facility is only permitted until its sunset date of January 1, 2020. Continuation and/or termination of this program will be determined by state legislatures.
When will Southern issue the RFP? The Request for Proposals should be issued in the First Quarter of 2017.
When does Southern propose to have the operation running? The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center proposes to begin the operation following issuance of RFP and selection of the most qualified applicant.
- What state regulatory agencies are involved?