May 13, 2018 10:19 PM
State Senator Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said he would like to see a third company licensed to make and dispense medical marijuana prescriptions.
Dibble authored the legislation that created the state's medical cannabis program. Dibble said following recent financial troubles and a management shake-up at LeafLine Labs has him worried.
"I am just scratching my head a little bit and I am concerned," Dibble said. "Right now, we have two licensed medical marijuana dispensers, but if LeafLine were to go bankrupt, it would put thousands of their patients in a tight spot."
Dibble said those patients could use the other licensed medical marijuana dispensary, Minnesota Medical Solutions, or Minn-Med, but he would like to see more competition to avoid problems like the current situation.
"I think having a third company licensed in Minnesota would provide more competition and improve the quality of the medications," Dibble said. "And if one company closes for financial, or other reasons, it would be better to have that third company to cover those patients."
LeafLine reported more than $12 million in losses to the Minnesota Department of Health for its first three years of operation, 2015 through 2017.
Just last week, LeafLine's CEO Dr. Andrew Bachman, announced he was leaving the company. LeafLine's entire board is also being replaced.
Attempts to reach LeafLine for comment have been unsuccessful.
Th Minnesota Department of Health said it is monitoring the situation and will make sure every medical marijuana patient gets the prescriptions they need.
Dibble said he is not sure why LeafLine is struggling to make a profit while its counterpart, Minn-Med, turned its first profit in 2017.
"It is hard to know why, because LeafLine's revenues are increasing," Dibble said. "But obviously, some things are not turning out the way they hoped and we have to take a look at the entire program and a third medical marijuana license might be helpful in the future."
Kellie Casey, a LeafLine client, said her prescriptions from the company have helped treat her PTSD and anxiety symptoms and the uncertainty of LeafLine's future weighs on her mind.
"It is just a lot of anxiety wondering if they are going to be open from one day to the next," Casey said. "It is something I am worried about because I do not know what my options are and I do not want to start the whole process over again."
Updated: May 13, 2018 10:19 PM
Created: May 13, 2018 05:24 PM
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