NEW ORLEANS – "It's such a big deal, and the first thing I could think about is my dad," said Ruston Henry.
Ruston Henry is the CEO of H & W Drug Store, a pharmacy that has been operating for more than 50 years. He believes that this is the main reason why his company won the election for the first licensed medical marijuana facility in New Orleans. For him, it is a victory not only for them, but also for sick people.
"Think of some of the people who just sit there, just with seizures, Tourette's syndrome, HIV, and all that, and if you could help relieve their pain, it's a pleasure," Henry said.
The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy announced the announcement after a very passionate and lengthy presentation of the Henry family on Tuesday in Baton Rouge.
"We all participated in this process, it has been a long, arduous process, but the Louisiana Board has evaluated everyone and they have come to the conclusion that we are the best to deal with," said Henry.
Henry says it's a breeze why the board chose his company.
"H & W Drug Store has never had problems with the Louisiana Board Pharmacy, any sanctions like these, we keep everything clean, locally grown, run locally, run locally, that's Louisiana, and we're proud of it." Said Henry.
It's an important step in the state's medical marijuana program. Henry fought four more contenders for the course, until Tuesday he was fourth in the series.
"Like everyone else, I think our jaw has hit the ground," Dr. Sajal Roy.
Dr. Sajal Roy, CEO of RX Greenhouse in Metairie, had the first place. The greenhouse had already created blueprints and a business plan. Roy calls the vote strange, considering that the license went to a pharmacy, which he says has no experience with medical marijuana.
"This concerns us because there are no points to be local, there are no points for a particular ethnic class or a minority, so that's kind of interesting, literally, that was his presentation," Dr. Roy.
To his disappointment, Roy adds that the Board has not provided a detailed explanation for the final decision.
Henry says there is no word yet about an opening date.
Dr. Roy says that he plans to discuss with the board and possibly submit an application for freedom of information to obtain the documents so he can see the reasons for the vote.