ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Relief may be in sight for thousands of severely ill Minnesota patients.
On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Health selected two companies to grow marijuana and distribute medical cannabis in the form of pills or oils starting next summer.
The state won’t allow patients to smoke marijuana, but the companies, Minnesota Medical Solutions in Otsego and LeafLine Labs in Cottage Grove, will grow and process the plants.
LeafLine’s co-founder is Dr. Andrew Bachman, of the Bachman greenhouse family, but he and LeafLine have no connection to the Bachman stores.
“Caring for people is a great privilege, and a responsibility we will never take lightly,” he said. “Patients first. Always.”
LeafLine’s manufacturing facility will be constructed in Cottage Grove, with distribution centers in Eagan, Hibbing, St. Cloud and St Paul.
Minnesota Medical Solution’s processing facility in Otsego is already completed.
It will now build distribution centers in Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Moorhead and Rochester.
Patients can take delivery of cannabis beginning July 1.
“Medical cannabis is not the cure all some portray it to be,” MinnMed CEO Dr. Kyle Kingsley said. “But it can alleviate the suffering of many, and that’s a great thing for these patients.”
Minnesota has one of the most restrictive medical cannabis laws in the country.
It is limited to about 5,000 patients, many of them children, with debilitating illnesses ranging from epilepsy to cancer to AIDS.
State officials calling the program cautious, but effective.
“This program is ultimately all about getting ill people quality medicine that will help relieve their suffering,” Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health said.
LeafLine and MinnMed were among 12 groups to apply for the medical cannabis license.
All of them had to put down a non-refundable application fee of $20,000.