Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has entered the cannabis industry, making history as the first historically black college or university to join the legal marijuana business.
Southern University is the first Historically Black College University (HBCU) to launch a hemp product line.
In partnership with Ilera Holistic Healthcare, a medical marijuana company in Pennsylvania, the university launched its hemp-derived CBD product line, ALAFIA, last week. The name means “inner peace” in the Yoruba language, according to the team behind the product.
The product draws on the purported medical benefits of CBD, an active component of cannabis. The CBD will be available at dispensaries in Louisiana as well as other retail locations. In addition, ALAFIA is available nationwide for sale and distribution.
ALAFIA’s researchers hope the partnership will provide students and residents of the state opportunities to learn about the benefits.
“Our overall goals are to continue providing experiential learning opportunities for our students who plan to enter into this rapidly evolving industry and to also provide education to the constituents of Louisiana in efforts to destigmatize this medical plant,” said the lead researcher, Janana Snowden, executive director of the university’s Southern Institute for Medicinal Plants.
CBD products have become increasingly popular in recent years, popping up on shelves in oil, extract, vaping and capsule forms. Although THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, remains illegal in many states, CBD has been legalized nationwide.
As the largest HBCU in Louisiana, Southern University has served students of color for over 200 years. Speaking of the partnership, President Ray Belton said the university was leading the way.
“This is an exciting time for healthcare and business here in the state of Louisiana, and Southern University is honored to be a part of it all.”
“Southern has been a leader in agriculture and the sciences for 140 years while staying true to its mission of access. This CBD venture with Ilera encompasses all of that. We look forward to advancing this vision and serving as a model for other universities.”Ray L. Belton, president of the Southern University System.
Since the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, or the Farm Bill was passed, hemp-derived CBD is legal for sale in all 50 states. ALAFIA— is scientifically formulated, lab tested and pesticide-free.
“We are excited about the launch of ALAFIA,” said Osagie Imasogie, chairman of Ilera Holistic Healthcare. “Our team created a superior hemp-derived product with patients in mind. We are proud of this partnership with Southern and look forward to announcing the next phase of this groundbreaking rollout.”
Currently on the market are two formulated PURE CBD tinctures: Isolate CBD with 500mg ($40) and 1000mg ($80) and Full Spectrum CBD with 500mg ($40) and 1000mg ($80). Additional CBD products will be released soon.
“Our vision has always been patient access and affordability,” said Chanda Macias, chief executive officer of Ilera Holistic Healthcare. “It was imperative for us to bring high-quality products that support health and wellness. Patients now have the ability to purchase ALAFIA over the counter without a prescription anywhere it is available.”
Retailers and distributors locally and nationally can expect products on shelves by the end of next month.
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