The Southern University Board of Supervisors has approved a plan for the university to conduct research on and produce medical marijuana. The university has contracted with Advanced Biomedics to conduct research, cultivate, and produce medical marijuana at university research facilities. Southern University will be the first historically Black educational institution authorized to produce medical marijuana.
Under the plan, the Southern University Agricultural Center will receive more than $6 million over 5 years. The university’s contract with Advanced Biomedics will be allowed to automatically renew for two additional five-year periods unless one party wants to terminate the agreement. The company will provide the center with an additional $1 million signing bonus for each additional contract term.
Bobby R. Phills, chancellor of the Southern University Agricultural Center and dean of the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, stated that “this is a momentous event. We are extremely excited to be able to provide good quality medicine for the citizens of Louisiana. This groundbreaking research opportunity will also provide revenue for the university.”
Janana Snowden, director of the Institute for Medicinal Plants at Southern University will be the university’s leader on the project. She is a graduate of Grambling State University in Louisiana and holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in environmental toxicology from Southern University.
The university plans to construct a facility on a 176-acre plot of land in Baker, Louisiana, for the project. The operation will employ a staff of more than 40 who will be responsible for growing, manufacturing and distributing pharmaceutical grade medicines from the cannabis plant. Products will be available in dispensaries throughout the state in early 2019.
No Southern University students will be involved in the production process. But Advanced Biomedics will provide resources to the university to help them train students to produce medicine from plans other than marijuana.