Pubdate: Wed, 21 Feb 2018
Source: Times-Picayune, The (New Orleans, LA)
Copyright: 2018 The Times-Picayune
Author: Littice Bacon-Blood


The Rx Greenhouse, one of the state's first marijuana pharmacy is
looking to open in Metairie. This rendering is a picture of the
pharmacy's waiting area.

One of the state's first marijuana pharmacies is looking to open in
Metairie nearly two years after Louisiana lawmakers authorized the use
of medical marijuana for certain conditions.

The Rx Greenhouse last month got preliminary approval from the state
Pharmacy Board and plans to be operational by Sept. 1, according to
CEO Dr. Sajal Roy, who is also a pharmacist.

The Rx Greenhouse was chosen from among eight applicants for the
pharmacy permit to dispense marijuana in the metro New Orleans area.
The Pharmacy Board plans to issue permits for pharmacies in each of
the state's nine designated health care regions.

Roy said he is "confident" state lawmakers and the Pharmacy Board will
give the location final approval.

"We're just excited to get started," he said.

The Rx Greenhouse also operates a marijuana dispensary in Maryland,
which Roy said was one of the first to open in that state.

"So, this isn't our first rodeo. We get it," Roy said. "We know how to
work with the providers in the area. We know how to make sure patients
understand the medication they are getting, how to use it and also how
to help doctors document their clinical results so that they can get
that information out to other patients."

The Louisiana 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.

Those vendors are responsible for growing the marijuana as well as
processing it, Roy said. Louisiana's law does not permit the sale of
marijuana that can be smoked, or so-called "combustible" marijuana.
The forms sold at the Rx Greenhouse and other state-permitted
pharmacies will include pills, topical creams and oils.

"By using different solvents, they are able to process the marijuana
into these tablets, capsules, patches, lotions, oils and that's your
finished product," he said.

The medical conditions that marijuana has been approved as a treatment
for in Louisiana include:

The marijuana can only be dispensed to patients with a doctor's
recommendation form, which will be verified, Roy said. The
certification for marijuana is good for 30 days and requires the
patient to return to the doctor for evaluation, he said.

"If the physician feels that it's working, the patient will get
another certification for another month," Roy said.

Roy and Neupauer said there will be strict security in place at the
pharmacy, including armed guards and card-only accessibility to the
building. All of the marijuana will be tracked to avoid theft or
"diversion" by using lot numbers and expiration dates.

"Every piece of marijuana will be accounted for from seed to sale,"
Roy said.
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