Grow cannabis in land grant universities?

In 2013, I gave an hour-long talk on marijuana legalization for the North Carolina Bar Association.  I  recall that when I suggested that our land grant university do the growing, one man literally walked out – as if to say, “That’s so far-fetched that I don’t have to listen to this nonsense any more.”  (Maybe that’s not why he left, but he was muttering something.)

Well, in Louisiana, state universities are in line to grow cannabis, by statute.  That sounds like a good idea — if you take the RAND view that government sellers are likely to be among the least interested in creating demand.  Get the agriculture school, and the botanists, and the chemists, and the public policy people, and the medical school, and the law school, and maybe even the business school to figure this out. Put the grow area on public access cable, 24/7.

If you want a safe provider of cannabis, a land grant university would look to be at the top of the list. In Louisiana, that means LSU and HBCU Southern University. Here’s the statutory language:  

“The Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and the Southern University Agricultural Center shall have the right of first refusal to be licensed as the production facility, either separately or jointly.” (Page 4.)

There was lots of talk for a long while about how state cannabis monopolies are impractical — or even impossible.  Like this: “a state monopoly would be impossible at this point because of the federal prohibition on marijuana.” After North Bonneville and now Louisiana, we may see that the federal government is not going to treat states and localities worse than commercial sellers.



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