Medical marijuana licenses under consideration - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Medical marijuana licenses under consideration

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Medical marijuana sparks investors' interest / KATC Medical marijuana sparks investors' interest / KATC

Local business people, doctors and pharmacists from throughout the state, many of whom have partnered with out-of-state marijuana industry consultants and experts, have lined up to get 10 exclusive medical marijuana pharmacy permits to be issued by the state's pharmacy board, our media partners at The Advocate report. 

Pharmacies throughout Louisiana could open in the coming months if the state Board of Pharmacy hands out licenses at its upcoming March meeting, the newspaper reports. 

A selection committee in January interviewed the applicants for each of the nine regions that will have a medical marijuana pharmacy, and ranked the applicants in all but two of those regions. The board is slated to hand out nine permits — one for each of the designated regions throughout Louisiana — plus a 10th later in a high-demand area, the Advocate reports. 

There was a tie between Acadiana Therapeutic Remedies and The Apothecary Shoppe in the Acadiana region.

A host of high-profile elected officials have vouched for the group of physicians behind the company. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, and former Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mike Neustrom wrote letters in support of Dr. Kevin Duplechain, one of the firm’s principals. U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, wrote a letter in support of co-owner Dr. Matt Mitchell.

Acadiana Therapeutic has partnered with people with backgrounds in medical marijuana, including Helen Cobb, who ran dispensaries in California, and Jacob Irving, founder of LSU Law’s Cannabis Law Society. The firm has a lease on a space in a strip mall at 1015 Kaliste Saloom Road, which is centrally located to the several of the city’s medical centers.

The Apothecary Shoppe would be owned by Eric Vidrine, Brian Ruden, David Mayer and Dr. Brett Casey. Vidrine is the founder and CEO of Professional Arts Pharmacy, a specialty compounding pharmacy in Lafayette; founder and chief executive officer of Palliative Pharmacy Solutions, a Lafayette pharmacy that treats hospice patients; and a principal owner of Institutional Pharmacies of Louisiana, which serve long-term care and institutionalized patients. Ruden is a pioneer in the legal marijuana industry in Colorado and founder of Starbuds, which has eight dispensaries in the state and three more under construction. Mayer is a pharmacist who is co-owner and CEO of Professional Arts Pharmacy, a founder and vice president with Palliative Pharmacy Solutions and co-owner of Institutional Pharmacy Solutions. Casey has been a physician with the Houma Orthopedic Clinic since 2004.

Kevin LaGrange, who has been a compounding pharmacist with Professional Arts since 2001, would be the pharmacist in charge of The Apothecary Shoppe.

The team has letters of support from Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux and Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mike Garber.

The Apothecary Shoppe has a lease on a space at 620 Guilbeau Road, which had once served as a pharmacy. They estimate it will take six months to build out the property to turn it into a medical marijuana clinic.

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