Moorhead medical marijuana dispensary opening delayed
MOORHEAD -- The medical marijuana dispensary that once was planned to open here this summer now is slated to open next spring as a result of "modest" patient numbers and the need to control costs, Minnesota Medical Solutions announced Wednesday.
MOORHEAD - The medical marijuana dispensary that once was planned to open here this summer now is slated to open next spring as a result of “modest” patient numbers and the need to control costs, Minnesota Medical Solutions announced Wednesday.
Moorhead was designated as one of eight locations for dispensaries of medical marijuana under a new Minnesota law that allows controlled use of the drug for certain qualified diseases, such as cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy or multiple sclerosis.
After a planned August opening for the Moorhead center passed, a MinnMed spokesman said as recently as Tuesday that a fall opening was planned.
But the company’s executive team decided Wednesday to delay the opening of the Moorhead dispensary and one in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities until spring.
“At a point where patient numbers in this new program remain modest, we need to control costs in order to keep medication prices as affordable as possible for our patients,” Dr. Kyle Kingsley, chief executive officer of Minnesota Medical Solutions, said in a statement.
“In the larger scheme of things, this is a relatively brief delay, and we will still have the facility open well before the July 1, 2016, legal deadline for opening patient centers,” Kingsley said.
To be eligible, patients must get their names on an official registry, with certification by an approved medical practitioner.
So far, 395 patients throughout Minnesota have been approved in the registry to pick up medical marijuana. Medical practitioners have certified 699 patients, making them eligible, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, which oversees the program.
To date, 379 health care practitioners - physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners - are registered and authorized to certify patients, state figures show.
“It hasn’t opened yet, simply because there is a tremendous amount of work to get done when you’re creating a brand new medicine and treatment infrastructure from the ground up,” MinnMed spokesman Joe Loveland said Tuesday of the delayed opening in Moorhead.
“Over the past nine months,” he said, “we’ve been working overtime to deliver medicine to patients who desperately need it, and we’ve been successful doing that.”
In Minnesota, medical marijuana dispensaries have opened in Minneapolis and Eagan, and are planned for Eden Prairie, Hibbing, Rochester, St. Cloud and St. Paul as well as Moorhead.
MinnMed still plans to use a former Subway sandwich shop at 104 7th St. S. as the location for its Moorhead center, Loveland said.