The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Monday, Dec. 1, the selection of LeafLine Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions (“MinnMed”) to become the registered manufacturers responsible for growing, processing and distributing medical cannabis products as part of the state’s new medical cannabis program.
The two manufacturers, including one in Otsego, will be responsible for growing the medical cannabis, processing it into pill or liquid form, and distributing the medications through a network of eight distribution sites (four sites per manufacturer) they will establish around the state. In addition, they will be working with MDH to advance the science on the proper uses of cannabis as medication.
LeafLine Labs and MinnMed were among 12 groups that applied to participate in the program. Their selection came after an exhaustive review process that examined applicants’ operational track records (in cultivation, manufacturing of medicine and patient/customer service), financial stability, business plans, and a host of other factors. The review process was conducted by a panel that included representatives from a variety of disciplines including agriculture, pharmacy, public safety, commerce and finance.
The final selection of the two parties was made by Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger, with recommendations from the review panel. According to Commissioner Ehlinger, the two manufacturers were selected based on their commitment to the patient experience, technical proficiency in cultivation and the formulation of medicine, rigorous safety and security standards, and sound business planning and resources.
“We are pleased to have two strong partners for Minnesota’s medical cannabis program,” said Commissioner Ehlinger. “Our goal is to safely provide medical cannabis products to patients with qualifying conditions by the deadline of July 1, 2015, and our attention over the next few months will be on working with these two manufacturers to implement the program and safely grow, process and distribute the products.”
LeafLine Labs is a Minnesota-based company founded by two emergency medicine physicians, members of the Bachman family and executives from Theraplant, a Connecticut-based medical cannabis manufacturer. Their team will draw on expertise in the areas of medicine; law; patient advocacy; business planning and operations, especially in a regulated environment; and high-quality medication formulation. LeafLine Labs’ manufacturing facility will be located in Cottage Grove. They plan to open an initial distribution center in Eagan on July 1, 2015, with other locations in Hibbing, St. Cloud and St. Paul before or by July 1, 2016.
“LeafLine Labs started with a committed search to find research-based treatments – including medical cannabis – that could bring comfort to people and, perhaps someday, even cure some medical conditions that Minnesotans live and die with,” said Dr. Andrew Bachman, co-founder of LeafLine Labs. “We are focused on bringing safe, consistent and high-quality medical cannabis to the people of Minnesota.”
Minnesota Medical Solutions is a locally owned, physician-led group composed of doctors, pharmacists, scientists, greenhouse operators, building contractors, educators and other supporters. In addition to the expertise of their team, they are working with multiple national medical cannabis industry experts including Brooke Gehring of People’s Choice Medical, in Denver, for training, consulting and operational procedures based on her experience with the regulated cannabis industry. Their manufacturing facility, located in Otsego, was started in July this past summer and will be functional this week. They plan to open four distribution facilities in July 2015 with locations in Rochester, Maple Grove, Minneapolis and Moorhead.
“The truly exciting part about today is that we get to help 5,000 Minnesota patients who may really benefit from this medicine,” said Kyle Kingsley, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Minnesota Medical Solutions. “We’re moving quickly from planning to execution, so that we will be ready to provide relief to those patients starting July 1.”
For more information about the medical cannabis program, please visit the MDH medical cannabis website.