Autism, sleep apnea now part of Minnesota’s medical marijuana program

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Patients in Minnesota with autism or sleep apnea could start receiving medical marijuana on Wednesday, an expansion that could give the highly regulated market a small boost in MMJ demand.

But it’s unclear whether that expansion – announced by regulators last November – and recent market growth will be enough for the state’s two vertically integrated MMJ businesses to prosper.

LeafLine Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions have faced a variety of financial, management and legal challenges, issues that prompted lawmakers to consider adding a third license.

Minnesota, which launched its MMJ market in 2015, has had one of the nation’s most restrictive programs, with a ban on flower and, initially, only a few qualifying medical conditions.

The program, however, has been steadily growing as more conditions have been added, including intractable pain in 2016 and post-traumatic stress disorder in 2017.

As of June 30, 2018, 10,738 patients were enrolled in the program, an increase of 4,554 from a year before, according to Minnesota Department of Health figures.

Two-thirds of those patients have been certified for intractable pain and another 16% for PTSD.

The Marijuana Business Factbook 2018 projects that Minnesota’s MMJ sales will reach $25 million-$30 million this year, up from an estimated $10 million-$20 million in 2017.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily