After reports of shortages of medical marijuana in November, the Minnesota Department of Health has required LeafLine Labs to make changes designed to avoid such situations arising in the future.
Those changes include discontinuing certain products to better control supply, revamping facilities, hiring more staff and putting in a real-time-tracking system to notify staff if inventory drops below a certain level.
The requirements follow multiple complaints last year.
Katie Kennedy of Andover said her son Tyler, 12, has severe autism. And she has been diagnosed with degenerative disc and auto immune diseases.
She said she’s already dealt with the stigma of using medical marijuana. And last year, she had to take on yet another challenge.
Kennedy said LeafLine Labs told her in late November of that year that they were out of product for she and her son.
“I went into panic immediately,” she said.
The state said the outage resulted in a return of symptoms in some cases.
After pleading, Kennedy said LeafLine Labs did manage to get a small amount of the medication needed for her son Tyler. But she knows others, including herself, weren’t so lucky.
“If we were out, it would be devastating to our family until we got the product again,” she said. “Or leave me in a position to where if it’s that bad, I might have to do something illegal.
“That’s not right.”
The Department of Health said manufacturers of medical cannabis are responsible for providing reliable and ongoing supplies and must notify the state and patients publicly of a potential outage.
For failing to do so, LeafLine Labs was fined $2,000 – a fine the company paid in March.
The DOH’s Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) said LeafLine Labs has had no additional outages since.
The company issued the following statement:
“The LeafLine Labs’ team remains firmly focused on our mission to provide the highest quality care and medical cannabis to our Minnesota patients,” the statement read.
“To ensure that LeafLine Labs is able to meet increasing demand for our products and provide uninterrupted care for all our patients, we have implemented a variety of actions in recent months, including hiring additional staff, investing in more efficient equipment, extraction techniques, and production processes, and retrofitting cultivation space to increase yields. These actions are effectively addressing challenges related to long product development lead times combined with LeafLine Labs’ experience meeting rapid sequential monthly growth in patient need. We are pleased with our progress and with our recent record sales results – and remain committed to serving all of our Minnesota patients.”