BATON ROUGE, La. – Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center (Ag Center), part of the Southern University System, announced Wednesday that it would become the first historically Black university (HBCU) to produce its own line of THC-infused medicinal cannabis products.
The formulations will be developed in partnership with Pennsylvania-based cannabis producer Ilera Holistic Healthcare. The new products will be marketed under the AYO moniker, as part of the ALAFIA Healthcare hemp-infused CBD product brand, which also is produced in collaboration with Southern University.
“This is yet another great and historic day for the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center,” Orlando McMeans, chancellor at the Ag Center, said in a press release.
“The goal of this program is to provide quality medicine for the citizens of the state of Louisiana through education, research, and outreach, all of which are included in the mission of the Ag Center. The release of AYO, along with our CBD products, will enable us to help patients better manage their medical issues and improve their quality of life,” McMeans added.
The announcement comes on the heels of new legislation, signed into law on June 11, by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. ACT No. 286 expands patient access to cannabis and allows any state-licensed doctor to prescribe medicinal cannabis, as needed, for various medical conditions.
“ACT No. 286 makes clear that Louisiana residents want full access to medical cannabis and the right to discuss alternative healthcare options with their doctors,” Ilera Holistic Chief Executive Officer Chanda Macias said. “We are grateful to the entire state legislature in welcoming our input throughout the long history of this bill and listening to the voices of our patients, advocates, doctors, and industry colleagues. We had one common goal, which was to bring greater access to medicine for all patients in our great state.”
The progressive curriculum at Southern University includes a medical marijuana program as part of the Ag Center’s Southern Institute for Medicinal Plants. Janana Snowden, director and an assistant professor of agriculture at Southern University-Baton Rouge, heads the department.
“The very important research we conduct on medicinal plants helps us to address health problems that affect communities. Our products, derived from medicinal plants, offer patients another way to alleviate symptoms. We are proud that we can be part of many potential solutions,” Snowden said.