At a press conference Monday morning, officials with Minnesota Medical Solutions and LeafLine Labs said their months of planning and preparation had paid off. They were chosen by the state to manufacture and distribute medical marijuana for the first time in Minnesota history.
“It’s a monumental day for the patients of Minnesota and the thousands of individuals that will soon have much needed access to safe, consistent and high-quality medical cannabis,” said Gary Starr, founder of LeafLine Labs.
By July 1, 2015, the two companies will grow and provide the medical marijuana to an estimated 5,000 patients with certified medical conditions.
LeafLine Labs will manufacture the medical cannabis in Cottage Grove. It will begin distributing first in Eagan and then expand to Hibbing, St. Cloud and St. Paul in 2016.
Minnesota Medical Solutions, or MinnMed, already has a manufacturing facility ready in Otsego. The company took a leap of faith and built it before knowing if it will be chosen. By July, MinnMed plans to have four distribution centers ready in Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Rochester and Moorhead.
“We feel that our plan and the way we’re going about doing this business for Minnesota is of the utmost quality,” said Jon Thompson, scientific director for MinnMed.
For some, however, there are still more questions than answers. Maple Grove Mayor Mark Steffenson wants more details about the logistics of running a distribution center in his city,.
“I think the unknowns are the real concerns right now,” he said. “I don’t know enough about it at this point in time, how it’s going to operate, what the law’s going to require. But we’re going to have some concerns that need to be addressed and figure it out from there.”
MinnMed officials say the next seven months will be a learning experience for everyone, but feel they’re prepared to do what it takes to make the program a success.
“We haven’t cut any corners,” said Thompson. “We’re excited for the opportunity to do this right.”
Cassie Bonstrom, email@example.com