Minnesota medical cannabis companies losing millions

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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 in 2015.

Those figures come from annual financial statements the private companies provided the state that were obtained through an open records request. MinnMed CEO Kyle Kingsley painted his company’s decreasing losses as a positive, and said he hopes to break even in 2017.

The continued losses are driven largely by Minnesota’s program being among the most restrictive of 30 states that allow medical marijuana.

Even the decision last summer to allow MMJ for people suffering chronic pain – which added thousands more patients – did little to stem the losses. Though each manufacturer more than quadrupled revenues, they still posted heavy losses.

A top Republican lawmaker said the companies may need a full year with that expanded patient count to right the ship. And if not, he 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,” Rep. Nick Zerwas said. “It’s not the job of the state government to create conditions in which private companies can be profitable for selling marijuana.”

– Associated Press