By Greg Hilburn

LSU has lawyered up after Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain accused the LSU AgCenter of breaking the law by expanding its medical marijuana program without permission.

"Based on recent comments by the commissioner of agriculture, we have engaged the LSU Office of General Counsel to provide oversight," LSU AgCenter spokesman Frances Gould said Tuesday in an email to USA Today Network.

"At this time we have no additional information," Gould said.

Gould was referring to comments made by Strain in a USA Today Network story published Monday in which he said the LSU AgCenter and its private grower GB Sciences have resisted oversight from the beginning.

Strain is the regulator for the state's fledgling medical marijuana program.

"They've fought the law every step of the way," Strain said. "We've sent them a notice that they're in violation of the law and we'll proceed to a (court hearing)."

The official violation notice was sent Monday in a letter from Tabitha Irvin, Strain's medical marijuana program director.

"The (agriculture) department finds LSU-GBSL in violation of the law, rules and regulations ...," Irvin wrote to her LSU AgCenter counterpart Ashley Mullens.

Last week Strain offered to allow the LSU AgCenter and GB Sciences to move its cannabis seedlings from a small, temporary growing pod to the main growing facility if LSU agreed to conditions in a proposed memorandum of understanding.

Strain said the offer was designed to allow LSU AgCenter and GB Sciences to proceed with production while his agency and the Louisiana State Police complete a suitability investigation, or extensive background check, into GB Sciences and its principals.

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