Louisiana medical marijuana maker seeks room to grow

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LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 06: Marijuana plants are grown at Essence Vegas’ 54,000-square-foot marijuana cultivation facility on July 6, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. On July 1, Nevada joined seven other states allowing recreational marijuana use and became the first of four states that voted to legalize recreational sales in November’s election to allow dispensaries to sell cannabis for recreational use to anyone over 21. Since July 1, sales of cannabis products in the state have generated more than USD 1 million in tax revenue. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A medical marijuana company has big expansion plans for its Louisiana operations and is separately courting hemp farmers to support an upcoming launch into CBD products.

Wellcana Group, one of only two companies approved in the state to produce medical marijuana, is scouting out locations between Baton Rouge and Lafayette for space to build a 100,000 square-foot indoor marijuana greenhouse and storage facility, according to The Advocate. The company expects that the expansion will create between 100 to 200 new full and part-time jobs.

The new facility would also be used as a collection center for hemp grown by local farmers for Wellcana’s planned push into CBD products.

Hemp is used to make CBD, the suddenly popular compound marketers say can treat a range of ailments without getting users high. The state’s industrial hemp plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in December.

Wellcana Chief Executive Officer John Davis says that a deal for the new facility is expected to close soon, likely with cooperation from a small town. Davis did not elaborate on the location or negotiations.

Wellcana has the exclusive license from Louisiana State University to produce medical marijuana products. Southern University holds the state’s second license and has contracted with another company expected to start operations this year.

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