Why Are Medical Marijuana Producers Losing Millions In Minnesota?

Why Are Medical Marijuana Producers Losing Millions In Minnesota?

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Out of politeness, don’t mention that we’re in the middle of a marijuana business boom around Minnesotans. While some states are topping $1 billion in sales, the Gopher State’s cannabis providers are actually losing money on their marijuana program.

Minnesota’s only two licensed medical marijuana producers report a combined loss of $11 million in the last two years, as reported by the Associated Press. One of them, Minnesota Medical Solutions, had a good year last year, but only in comparison to the year before. While it lost more than $3 million in 2015, it was only in the red for $1.2 million in 2016. The other, Leafline Labs, lost $2.2 million in 2015, but stepped things up to take on a whopping $4.7 million last year.

This all makes one want to ask: “Just what exactly the fuck is going on over in Vikings country? It also might make one want to ask: “Wait, a state with a population of 5.5 million people has only two medical marijuana providers?” And maybe it also makes one wonder if those two questions aren’t related to each other.

The state has one of the most restrictive MMJ programs in the nation. It has only two licensed providers, who sell in four dispensaries a piece, making for eight total dispensaries in an 87,000 square mile area. There are only ten qualifying conditions for a doctor’s recommendation card. And you can’t provide or possess or use dry cannabis flower, only CBD-heavy cannabis oil and pills containing extract.

And last but not least on a list of why the MN MMJ programs sucks is the cost. Potential patients pay a $200 application fee just to be considered for the doctor’s recommendation. And then, patients can end up shelling out $300 to $500 a month to keep their hash oil supply levels up. So, maybe it’s no big surprise if patients aren’t lining up to spend money on a service that only fills half their needs with an overpriced product in inconveniently located dispensaries.

Leafline Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions, for their part, say everything is going according to plan. MMS chief executive Kyle Kingsley told the AP that his company’s tanking worth is a positive, and LeafLine chief executive officer Andrew Bachman said that “This is the cost of doing medicinal cannabis correctly… The goal was never to post a profit early. It was to take care of people, always.” So, all Minnesota needs are a few hundred people who think the way Bachman does and the state might have a functioning medical marijuana program eventually.

Photo via Flickr user Dank Depot

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