- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - State officials said Monday they picked Minnesota Medical Solutions, or MinnMed, and LeafLine Labs to grow marijuana for a new medical cannabis program because their applications were the strongest from 12 applicants.

It wasn’t easy reading.

Each company submitted hundreds of pages of detailed revenue projections, cost estimates, site plans and security preparations. Some interesting tidbits from all that paper:

SECRET FINANCES

The Minnesota Department of Health got a full rundown about how much revenue the companies expect to pull in by selling marijuana pills, vapors and oils to Minnesotans, but you won’t see it.

Much of the companies’ financial projections are redacted, citing trade secrecy concerns. Even the number of Minnesotans that LeafLine thinks it will hire is blacked out.

COST

In its application, MinnMed estimated it will sell its products at an average of $55 per gram. If a patient goes through 6 grams per month, as the company estimates, the average monthly bill would work out to $330 per month.

Actual costs will vary greatly based upon the condition being treated, the compound used, the patient’s weight, dosage levels and more. There’s little hope of the medicine being covered by insurance.

MinnMed CEO Kyle Kingsley said in an email patients can expect to pay $100 to $500 monthly.

For its part, LeafLine estimated it would likely sell its products at $85 per gram. Both companies have vowed to set up special pricing structures for lower-income Minnesotans.

SECURITY

From entry and camera systems to detailed plans on moving their products from greenhouses to dispensaries, each company was required to lay out stringent security plans.

Most of that information is blacked out, too.

But if there’s any sign as to how serious they’re taking security, it’s this: MinnMed hired a man who has protected presidents, a former U.S. Secret Service special agent, to lead its security team. LeafLine brought in a former 26-year FBI veteran and former SWAT team member.

HOCKEY STICK

MinnMed and LeafLine agree a graph of enrollment in Minnesota’s medical marijuana program will probably look like a hockey stick: slow at first, but rising over several years.

They just don’t agree on how big a stick it is.

LeafLine wrote in its application it expects 10,000 patients by the end of the first year, increasing steadily until it reaches 30,000 by mid-2018.

MinnMed had a much more conservative estimate: between 5,000 and 10,000 by mid-2018.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA MEETS FOOD TRUCK?

Ensuring equal access to the eight dispensaries across Minnesota is a big concern for state officials. In its application, LeafLine offered a suggestion: a mobile distribution site.

“This unit would be able to travel to specific authorized locations in rural Minnesota following a predetermined schedule and would improve patient access for districts where patients are geographically spread out,” the company wrote.


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