Medical cannabis license denial is standing in the way of research in Foley. At Oscity in Foley, you'll find a million-dollar, souped-up chromatography machine that separates and isolates molecules. "Its serial number is 001 and the first of its kind in this country," said Operations Vice President Christopher Whaley. Whaley says what makes it so special is that it can process six times more volume than other chromatography methods.

"We can get far more throughput for separations than almost anybody else in the country at this point," said Whaley. That's important for researchers like Lukasz Ciesla, who is a Biological Sciences Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama. He and many others are studying molecules found in plants, like cannabis, that could help treat age-related diseases, cancer, and chronic pain.

"Many of these molecules are not commercially available. So you have to isolate them by yourself from the starting material that you get from in a field, and it takes forever. So if you can find a way to speed up this process and, at the same time, get a pure and high-quality molecule, this actually is a huge advantage," said Ciesla. "That can potentially be useful and studied for developing new drugs, as I said, in the prevention and treatment of numerous diseases."