Medical marijuana provider aims to soften high costs with monthly discount


Some patients who use marijuana to ease the pain of serious medical conditions have found Minnesota's new program creates a pain in the pocketbook.

To help with that, one of the state's two marijuana providers in the program that started in July announced Monday it will offer a 15 percent discount to patients who purchase a month's supply of medical cannabis, ValleyNewsLive reports.

The chief executive of LeafLine Labs, Manny Munson-Regala, told The Associated Press the discount could save patients anywhere from $15 to $150 per month, depending upon which products they buy.

LeafLine is concerned the expense of medical marijuana has some patients trying to cut costs by purchasing less than a month's supply.

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In a separate story last week, the AP reported that high costs are leading some patients to abandon the pills and oils sold through Minnesota's regulated medical cannabis program and instead purchase smokeable marijuana from street dealers.

Insurance companies do not cover marijuana, leaving authorized patients with any of nine qualifying ailments to spend as much as $500 or more per month, WCCO reports.

The station spoke with an HIV patient who says – even with a discount for being on Medical Assistance – he's still paying $640 a month. The discount announced by LeafLine on Monday will bring that down to $500, he says.

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LeafLine's only dispensary in Minnesota is a clinic in Eagan, though the company has promised the state it will open others in St. Paul, St. Cloud, and Hibbing.

The other state-authorized provider of medical marijuana, Minnesota Medical Solutions, has clinics in Minneapolis and Rochester. Its plans to open others in Moorhead and Eden Prairie have been postponed until next year.

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