Medical marijuana company delays 2 clinic openings

Medical marijuana sold in MN will be smoke-free
Only smoke-free medical marijuana, sold as pills, oils or tinctures, is available for qualifying patients in Minnesota.
Jennifer Simonson | MPR News file

Updated: 4:05 p.m. | Posted: 1:54 p.m.

A Minnesota medical cannabis manufacturer won't open its third dispensary site until patient demand catches up with supply.

Minnesota Medical Solutions was set to open a Moorhead location this fall, but CEO Kyle Kingsley said it will have to wait until next spring or summer.

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Out of 699 patients certified by their health care practitioners that they have a qualifying condition for medical cannabis, 395 have been approved by the state to pick up the product from dispensaries, according to latest data on the Minnesota Department of Health's website. The other 304 have not yet completed the registration process to be able to actually buy medical cannabis in pill or oil form. It costs $200 annually to register for the program.

Kingsley said waiting to open the Moorhead location will be the most efficient way to operate the business and keep costs low for patients.

"You can imagine that to open another facility in Moorhead, we'll need a pharmacist, we'll need the security staff, we'll need the pharm techs," he said. "So if you can delay that until there is more adequate patient numbers that makes the most sense."

Minnesota Medical Solutions opened the Minneapolis and Rochester dispensaries this summer. The company was also set to open an Eden Prairie location this fall, but will delay that one as well.

State law requires two medical cannabis manufacturers to each open four locations by July of next year.

The other manufacturer, LeafLine Labs, opened its first dispensary in Eagan this summer and is on track to open one in St. Cloud by late October or early November.

CEO Manny Munson-Regala said the remaining two locations in St. Paul and Hibbing will have to wait until sometime in 2016.

"I'm not surprised, the first year is a learning, processing, roll-out year," he said of patient registration numbers. "You're not going to see your big spikes in enrollment until year two or three."