Southern University and Agricultural and Medicinal College, a historically black university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has solidified its stake in Louisiana’s medical marijuana industry.

On Friday, the school’s board of supervisors approved a contract with Advanced Biomedics, a Louisiana-based company specializing in pharmaceutical-grade marijuana products, to partner on the cultivation and production of medical marijuana at Southern’s research facilities.

“This is a momentous event,” said Bobby R. Phills, chancellor of the Southern University Agricultural Center and dean of the school’s College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, in a news release Friday. “We are extremely excited to be able to provide quality medicine for the citizens of Louisiana.”

The HBCU and Louisiana State University are the first public universities in the country set to produce and research marijuana at their facilities. Presently, the institutions are the only two legal growers and researchers of medical marijuana in the state.

“This groundbreaking research opportunity will also provide revenue for the University and economic development in North Baton Rouge,” Phillis added.

Southern’s product will be ready for distribution at Louisiana dispensaries in early 2019. Medical marijuana is legal in Louisiana, but recreational use is still prohibited. Nine pharmacies selected by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy will be distributing medicinal marijuana as early as summer 2018.

Under Friday’s deal, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, which will oversee the program, will receive more than $6 million, according the university. Advanced Biomedics can automatically renew its contract with the HBCU for two subsequent five-year periods, unless there is a cause for termination. Southern will receive a $1 million signing bonus with each contract renewal.

The Agricultural Research and Extension Center is one of five campuses in Southern’s system, and focuses on livestock and agricultural research and community education, including a leadership program empowering small farmers who have limited resources throughout the South. Read full at MIC