ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s two licensed medical marijuana manufacturers have lost a combined $11 million in just two years of sales, according to financial documents obtained by The Associated Press, continuing losses that hint at systemic problems with the state’s tightly regulated program despite a recent expansion that allowed thousands more patients to buy the medication.
Minnesota Medical Solutions posted a $1.2 million loss in 2016, a year after losing more than $3 million. But LeafLine Labs’ losses worsened: The company said it lost $4.7 million last year, after losing $2.2 million loss in 2015.
Those figures come from annual financial statements the private companies provided the state that were obtained through an open records request. Minnesota Medical Solutions chief executive Kyle Kingsley painted his company’s decreasing losses as a positive, and said he hopes to break even in 2017 as the company continues retooling its business to reduce costs. But the key, he said, was awareness.
“We need to continue working together to ensure than providers and patients are aware of this program,” Kingsley said in an emailed statement.
A LeafLine representative was not immediately available. The state’s Office of Medical Cannabis also did not respond to a request for comment.
The losses add to concerns with Minnesota’s medical marijuana program.
State lawmakers are moving to crack down on Minnesota Medical Solutions, or MinnMed, after its former executives were charged with illegally shipping $500,000 of marijuana oils to a New York subsidiary company – a case still moving through court. The financial constraints on the program led state regulators to seek extra funding to help cover the costs of its patient database and inspections of manufacturers.
Both companies have repeatedly professed little hope in turning a large profit. They each raised tens of millions of dollars, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, to help weather a difficult launch period and lackluster sales when medical marijuana sales began in July 2015, more than a year after the Legislature passed its law.
The continued losses are driven largely by Minnesota’s program being among the most restrictive of 30 states that allow medical marijuana. Using the plant form is banned, and the state limits the availability of marijuana pills and oils to patients with 10 severe conditions. Each manufacturer is required to perform several rounds of testing on their medication and must run four dispensaries across the state.
Even the decision last summer to allow medical marijuana for people suffering chronic pain – which added thousands more patients – did little to stem the losses, as some lawmakers and advocates expected. Though each manufacturer more than quadrupled revenues, they still posted heavy losses.
A top Republican lawmaker involved in medical marijuana issues said the companies may need a full year with that expanded patient count to right the ship. And if not, Rep. Nick Zerwas said they shouldn’t look to the Legislature for a major fix.
“I don’t think there is going to be any appetite for a … broadening of conditions or delivery forms,” Zerwas said, referencing the ban on smoking or vaporizing the plant material. “It’s not the job of the state government to create conditions in which private companies can be profitable for selling marijuana.”
What’s in Your Stash? Autumn Saylor, Stay-at-Home Mom, Treating PTSD With Cannabis
Study Finds Legal Cannabis Reduces Illicit Grows in National Forests
Someone Planted 34 Cannabis Plants in the Vermont Statehouse Flower Beds
New Bill Ensures Some Retroactive Drug War Justice for New Hampshire
House Votes to Protect States With Legal Marijuana From Feds
Two Plead Guilty to Using United States Postal Service to Traffic Marijuana
Honoring the Legend: Jack Herer
Raid of Massive Illegal Cannabis Grow Site in California Took Four Days to Complete
News5 days ago
What Was Said at Today’s Congressional Hearing on Federal Marijuana Law Reform
Health6 days ago
The Pechoti Method: Can You Put Weed in Your Belly Button?
News7 days ago
New Subscription Service Ships Concentrates Directly to Consumers
Entertainment6 days ago
Jay-Z Announces Partnership With Top Cannabis Company Caliva
News3 days ago
Coast Guard Busts Submarine Carrying Over $500 Million Worth of Cocaine, Weed
News4 days ago
Florida Court Rules Medical Marijuana Licensing Law Unconstitutional
Health5 days ago
Cannabis and Mental Health: Schizophrenia
News5 days ago
Hawaii Officially Decriminalizes Small Quantities of Cannabis