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The former Walgreens store at 1544 Manhattan Blvd, in Harvey Monday, July 8, 2024. (Staff photo by John McCusker, The Times-Picayune | NOLA.com) ORG XMIT: NO.harveyweed.070924

A New Orleans-based private investor group is taking over a collection of medical marijuana pharmacies in the New Orleans area and expanding to create the West Bank's first location in Harvey.

H&W Acquisition Company LLC, co-owned by a maritime veteran and trial attorney, bought the highly coveted medical marijuana pharmacy license from local pharmacy H&W Drug Store and took over its two dispensary locations in New Orleans and Metairie, H&W Acquisition co-owner Captain Lee Jackson said in a statement.

Last week, the company purchased the site of a former Harvey Walgreens, at 1544 Manhattan Blvd., for $3.4 million. Jackson said they plan to open a satellite pharmacy there, marking the West Bank’s first medical marijuana dispensary.

The three pharmacy locations also are set to undergo a rebranding process under a new name and “fresh new identity,” though no additional details were provided.

Jackson, owner of an offshore marine transportation company, said in an email Monday the renovations will provide “a modern and revitalized appearance” to the property to benefit the community.

He previously applied for the state’s 10th, and for now, final medical marijuana pharmacy license in 2022 as an owner of West Bank Pharmacy in Belle Chasse, though that documentation was awarded instead to Crescent City Therapeutics in Metairie.

Co-owning H&W Acquisition Company is James Williams, a New Orleans trial attorney and LSU Board of Supervisors member. Williams said in a statement the West Bank pharmacy will offer natural cannabis grown and tested in Louisiana.

H&W Drug Store’s owner Ruston Henry said he did not have time Monday afternoon to comment on the sale.

Medical marijuana in Louisiana comes from a duopoly of growers: Good Day Farms, which holds five pharmacy locations across the state, and Ilera Holistic Healthcare.

Those interested in buying from a dispensary must obtain a “recommendation,” not a prescription, from a licensed doctor. Patients can either get their recommended treatment plan, like the dose and form of marijuana, from their doctor or from a pharmacist at a dispensary.

H&W Drug Store’s website offers flower, inhalers, edibles and several other options for administering the drug, as well as deliveries to customers.

Louisiana had at least 25,000 medical marijuana users as of May 2023, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

Email Lara Nicholson at lnicholson@theadvocate.com or follow her on Twitter @LaraNicholson_.

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