MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After losing $3 million in its first full year of operation, Minnesota’s medical marijuana program is expecting similar debt in year two. But officials from Minnesota Medical Solutions are expecting their financial picture to improve now that they’ve been allowed to expand treatment to people diagnosed with intractable, or, chronic pain.

MinnMed CEO Kyle Kingsley was asked how long the program can keep suffering losses.

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“Uh, quite a while,” said Kingsley. “The losses are deceiving because of the current influx of patients.”

It’s the three-month anniversary of expanding the program to include those who suffer from chronic pain. Kingsley said about 1,000 patients suffering from chronic pain have signed up for the medical marijuana program since Aug. 1, with that number making up what he called a “majority” of their business.

“We’re confident this change to intractable pain is going to be the difference,” Kinglsey said.

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There had been early concerns about people who didn’t qualify trying to obtain medical marijuana for nonmedical use.

“Early in the process the idea that including (chronic) pain would be a big deal, it was really catastrophic as far as hundreds of thousands of patients and a ton of problems, a ton of diversion,” Kingsley said. “None of this has come to fruition.”

But Kingsley said they’ll need more patients to drive down the cost of medical marijuana treatment and keep the business going, and affordable.

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“It’s an expensive business,” he said. “We’re definitely in this to help folks. But you have to have a viable business. Intractable pain makes this a viable business, but I would like to see prices go down.”