Gentilly medical marijuana pharmacy will be secure, owner says

A strip mall in Gentilly will house one of the state’s first medical marijuana pharmacies, and owner Ruston Henry said he has a “four-prong” security plan for the New Orleans dispensary.

“This facility will be monitored 24 hours a day,” Henry told the state Pharmacy Board during his successful pitch Tuesday (April 17) for one of the state’s nine regional permits. “There will be motion detectors and video surveillance.”

Henry, a pharmacist who owns two locations of H&W Drug store, Inc., plans to open his third pharmacy at 4718 Paris Ave. in a leased space surrounded by other retail shops, including a grocery store and several fast food restaurants.

Henry said he doesn’t have an opening date yet. However, the board’s policy requires that marijuana pharmacies to begin operating within 310 days of being awarded a permit. That would mean opening by February 2019 at the latest. 

“Everything we do will go hand-in-hand with approval of the board,” Henry said. “This is a partnership between the facility and the board.”

Henry, who said he has been a pharmacist for more than 30 years, said he wants the facility to be a model for the state.

“We want to be, not one of nine, we want to be the top, prototypical one in the whole state,” Henry said.

Under state law the Paris Avenue pharmacy can only be used to dispense medical marijuana.   

Louisiana law prohibits marijuana from being sold in any form that can be smoked. The forms sold at state-permitted pharmacies will include pills, topical creams and oils and can only be dispensed to patients with a doctor’s recommendation form.

The state-permitted pharmacies will dispense marijuana that will be produced and manufactured in various forms by vendors hired by Southern University and Louisiana State University, the only agricultural centers allowed

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