While recreational marijuana remains illegal in Louisiana, the state has made some provisions for medical marijuana use, and 3,500 people are now enrolled in a related program. Hemp products were legalized in the state in the summer of 2019. In February 2020, Southern University in Louisiana announced its partnership with Ilera Holistic Healthcare to produce anti-inflammatory CBD products. The new collaboration was unveiled at New Orleans’ H&W Drug Store Dispensary. Southern will be the first historically black college or university (HBCU) to formally participate in the CBD industry.
Ray L. Belton, president of the Southern University system, said the school “has been a leader in agriculture and the sciences for 140 years while staying true to its mission of access… We look forward to advancing this vision and serving as a model for other universities,” according to High Times. Southern University’s Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Baton Rouge is managing the partnership with Ilera.
Dr. Chanda Macias, CEO of Ilera, said the partnership aims to “support all communities” by making their wellness products accessible and affordable. “No one should endure the stress of trying to balance a healthy lifestyle at high costs -- that, within itself, is unhealthy,” she said.
The product line is called ALAFIA, which means “inner peace” in Yoruba. It will include CBD tincture, isolate and full-spectrum options, and will be available later in February.
As Caitlin Donohue pointed out in High Times, Black people in Louisiana face much higher rates of arrest for marijuana possession than their white peers. This fact can be seen to highlight the importance of a local HBCU entering the CBD business with a focus on accessibility.
Other higher education institutions that are working with CBD, hemp and/or cannabis include Washington State, UC Davis and Murray State University. As we recently covered, the University of Maryland is offering a Masters in Medical Cannabis is now open for enrollment.