Both of Minnesota’s medical marijuana producers offered patients a price break this week.
Minnesota legalized marijuana as a medication in July and set up a strictly limited, tightly regulated system designed to be as clinical and nonrecreational as possible. But that doesn’t mean that the state’s two designated medical marijuana companies aren’t competing for your cannabis business.
At Minneapolis-based Minnesota Medical Solutions, new patients can get a 50 percent discount on their first purchase during the month of October. Existing patients can enroll in a loyalty program that allows them to earn “points” toward future discounts on their medication, the company announced Thursday.
Earlier in the week, LeafLine Labs launched a 15 percent discount for patients who buy a month’s supply of cannabis or more. The Cottage Grove-based firm also offers a 12 percent discount to lower-income patients. MinnMed hiked its prices 15 to 20 percent in August but offers low-income patients a 15 percent discount.
As of last Friday, there were 491 patients enrolled with the Health Department’s Office of Medical Cannabis and legally able to buy the drug from one of the three clinics open in the state — in Minneapolis, Eagan and Rochester.
MinnMed’s CEO, Dr. Kyle Kingsley, said his company decided to offer the October discount to attract the hundreds of patients who are still working their way through the certification process — and who may be worried about how they can afford both a drug that is not covered by any insurance plan and the program’s $200 registration fee.
“We decided to put together this dramatic discount for first-time patients so they can see if the program works for them,” said Kingsley, who estimates that most patients spend less than $200 a month on cannabis oils and pills, although the costs can rise dramatically for some conditions, such as seizure disorders.
“Then, of course, we have 300-plus regular, established patients with MinnMed and it was important that we do something for them, too, so we established this loyalty points program,” he said.
LeafLine CEO Manny Munson-Regala said this week’s price cuts won’t be the last.
“At the risk of sounding like a barker, I want to say, ‘We’re not done yet,’ ” he said. “We’re looking at our base pricing. We’re looking at loyalty programs. And we’re looking at a charitable arm. And when I say ‘looking,’ we’re going to do all three things.”
Minnesota’s medical cannabis program is open to patients suffering one of nine serious conditions, including cancer, terminal illnesses and seizure disorders. More clinics have been delayed, but five other locations are expected to open over the next year.
More information on Minnesota’s medical cannabis program can be found at: mn.gov/medicalcannabis.