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Medical Marijuana Patients Alarmed By Shortages

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Several Minnesotans say they are struggling to get their prescribed medicine that they consider life-changing.

LeafLine Labs is one of two medical marijuana companies in the state. Some of its patients have to wait nearly a week to get their prescriptions filled.

Kellie Germin uses medical marijuana to treat her post traumatic stress disorder.

"As hard as it is for me to go without it, you know, I think about the patients who are far worse than me," Germin said. "It means being functional, active, being able to be part of social groups, sleeping, eating."

Her prescription is through LeafLine Labs. She said when she calls to get a refill she typically picks it up on the same day.

But when Germin called Tuesday morning, she said she was told it would take six days.

"Anxiety, a lot of anxiety," she said. "Oh my gosh, what am I going to do? Oh my gosh, what are the other patients going to do?"

Her story echoed several others in a Facebook group for medical marijuana patients in Minnesota, all complaining about prescription delays at LeafLine Labs.

Dr. Andrew Bachman, CEO and chief medical officer for LeafLine Labs, said the state mandates that medicine samples be submitted to a third-party lab for testing.

LeafLine Labs Medical Marijuana
(credit: CBS)

He released a statement saying that his company has plenty of inventory, but because of "unforeseen delays at the lab, including the recent holiday, we are still waiting for our certificate of analysis to release more product to our patients."

He stated the company's Eagan location is temporarily closed, but will reopen Friday. Until then, customers in the Metro can use the St. Paul location.

"We sincerely apologize to our patients who are inconvenienced by any delays, but will never compromise on patient safety and program compliance," Dr. Bachman said. "We are actively working to reschedule appointments."

Germann said she has certain exercises she can do to calm her PTSD symptoms. She is even contemplated becoming a patient at Minnesota Medical Solutions, the other medical marijuana provider in the state.

Dr. Kyle Kingsley, the CEO of Minnesota Medical Solutions, said his dispensaries have seen an increase in new patients over the past two weeks.

"Children with seizure disorders, people with severe pain disorders, even one or two days off their medication regimen can be a pretty devastating situation," said Dr. Kingsley. "We're going to work with any patients and physicians to make sure that there's no gap in that medication regimen."

The idea of changing prescribers worries Germann. She said she trusts Leafline Labs and the prescription they have designed for her. But the thought of going nearly a week without her medicine might be a bigger concern.

"I know that LeafLine, or any dispensary for that purpose, isn't trying to put anybody's health at risk, but this is exactly what's happening," Germann said.


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