Minnesota's medical marijuana manufacturing companies have lost $11 million in just two years of sales.
According to financial documents obtained by the Associated Press, LeafLine Labs said it lost $4.7 million last year and $2.2 million in 2015.
Meanwhile, Minnesota Medical Solutions recorded a $1.2 million loss in 2016 and a $3 million loss in 2015.
"From a financial perspective, 2016 was a much better year than 2015," a spokesperson with MinnMed said in an e-mail Monday evening. "Revenues increased from less than $500,000 to more than $2 million, while losses decreased from approximately $3 million to $1 million."
MinnMed hopes to break even in 2017, but "since we are not yet halfway through the calendar year it is a bit premature to make a projection," said the spokesperson.
The state health department in 2016 enlarged the group of people eligible for cannabis medication to include those with intractable pain, a change that doubled visits to Minnesota's eight dispensing clinics as of last August.
"As a physician-led company, we embrace Minnesota's medical model, as it helps ensure that patients have access to high-quality medical cannabis," MinnMed said by e-mail. "We also applaud [the Minnesota Department of Health] for adding intractable pain as a qualifying medical condition. This decision helped provide more Minnesotans with greater access to medical cannabis and offers a safer alternative to those patients currently using opioids."
"We place patients over profit," said Dr. Andrew Bachman, co-founder and CEO of LeafLine Labs.
MinnMed and LeafLine Labs spent millions setting up their operations and lost millions more in the program's rocky first year.
In 2015, MinnMed invested $5 million in its operations.
Minnesota's medical marijuana program is one of the most restrictive in the country and one of the smallest.
The two companies, which have spent tens of millions of dollars to get growing operations and clinics off the ground, had hoped that an influx of pain patients might help them turn a profit.
"We're confident this change to intractable pain is going to be the difference," MinnMed CEO Dr. Kyle Kingsley said late last year.