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Minnesota medical cannabis shortage impacts patients

Sara Tiradossi

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Several medical cannabis patients in Minnesota are struggling to get their prescribed medicine that they consider life-changing.

Kellie Germann is one of these patients who uses medical cannabis to treat her post traumatic stress disorder.

“As hard as it is for me to go without it, you know, I think about the patients who are far worse than me,” Germann said. “It means being functional, active, being able to be part of social groups, sleeping, eating.”

Her prescription is through Leafline Labs, one of two medical cannabis companies in Minnesota. When she calls to get a refill, she can usually pick it up the same day; however, when she called Tuesday, she was told to wait six days.

“Anxiety, a lot of anxiety,” she said. “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do? Oh my gosh, what are the other patients going to do?”

It is unclear how many patients will be facing delays in getting their medication just like Germann.

According to Andrew Bachman, CEO and chief medical officer for LeafLine Labs, the state mandates that medicine samples are submitted to a third-party lab for testing. In his statement, he said there were “unforeseen delays at the lab, including the recent holiday, and that “we are still waiting for our certificate of analysis to release more product to our patients.”

The company is temporarily closing down in its Eagan location, but customers will still be able to use the St. Paul location.

“We sincerely apologize to our patients who are inconvenienced by any delays, but will never compromise on patient safety and program compliance,” Dr. Bachman said. “We are actively working to reschedule appointments.”

LeafLine Labs’ competitor, Minnesota Medical Solutions, is getting ready to serve more patients at this time, CEO Kyle Kingsley, said.

“Children with seizure disorders, people with severe pain disorders, even one or two days off their medication regimen can be a pretty devastating situation,” Kingsley said. “We’re going to work with any patients and physicians to make sure that there’s no gap in that medication regimen.”

Germann said she trusts Leafline Labs and the idea of changing her medical cannabis provider worries her.

Germann said, “I know that LeafLine, or any dispensary for that purpose, isn’t trying to put anybody’s health at risk, but this is exactly what’s happening.”

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Minnesota medical cannabis shortage impacts patients