Bethesda Biomedical Makes Big Moves in Maryland's Fledging Industry
Here in Tacoma, we have experienced our fair share of turbulence and growing pains within the cannabis industry, but what new industrial growth hasn’t? Sure, our ups have been enjoyable, and our downs notable, at times downright deplorable, but we stayed the course in hopes of change. In 2012, our state did the impossible, and legalized adult use for the consumption of cannabis. Forgive me for not calling it legalization, for there are too many insurmountable issues within the laws passed to be considered “legalization.”
Among the pioneers in our state to weather the legal and financial storms of uncertainty in the cannabis industry is a man by the name of Brian Caldwell. Caldwell is the former managing partner of the Cannabis Club Collective, a medical marijuana access point popular among cannabis patients from all over the state, along Tacoma’s 6th Avenue. “Working with true professionals in the industry like Solstice, X-Tracted, Exotic Genetix, Aurum Farms, Mary's Medicinal, CPC, Evergreen Herbal, as well as my peers like Dockside and Herban Legends, have truly given me a true sense of what patients need,” says Caldwell of his experience within the Washington cannabis industry.
For roughly the past seven years Caldwell has tirelessly focused on policy, proliferation and, above all else, education about the cannabis plant’s ability to better so many lives through different programs and organizations aimed at bringing the industry and its members together. One such organization is the Northwest Producer, Processor and Retailer Association (NWPPR), for which he served as chairman from 2012 until 2015. Though these past several years have yielded monumental results and success for this businessman focused so intently on cannabis legalization on a global scale, he still notes his issues with the Washington cannabis laws. “That at this point, Washington State does not have a medical cannabis system to serve the most vulnerable in our state, the patients, and makes it extremely costly for those most vulnerable to treat themselves with cannabinoid therapy.”
In 2015, Caldwell and his partners decided that the fledgling laws in Maryland would be a viable next target, as the medical cannabis deadline was looming for patients and business owners alike. For those who didn’t know, medical cannabis was essentially shut down and given no new path forward, ceasing to provide essential medicine for thousands of critically ill patients, and hundreds of families who worked in the industry, diligently, to provide for their families and community. This was carried out, as foretold by legislators, in July 2016. Caldwell’s move was obvious to him: Take his knowledge and know-how about the cannabis industry and reset in a new, receptive state looking for legitimate and affordable cannabis therapies. Cue Bethesda Biomedical, a public benefit Corporation and Caldwell’s new presiding business for the study of cannabinoids and simplistic, consistent medicines derived from them. Located in, you guessed it, Bethesda, Md.
“My hope is that they remain focused on high quality applicants that want to deliver pharmaceutical grade cannabinoid therapy to patients who truly need them,” mentions Caldwell of his hopes for American, and global, cannabis applications. Most of us were, and still are for that matter, wholly unaware that Maryland has any laws on the books in favor of cannabis, but they do and have since 2003. Officially, it was simply an affirmative medical marijuana defense, similar to our own early “medical marijuana laws” in Washington, but it later was voted on that medical cannabis would be legal under a certain amount, and allowable for certain approved conditions like cachexia, nausea, and seizures.
Of Bethesda Biomed’s mission in the east, Caldwell assures me, “We are a Maryland biomedical firm dedicated to developing and advancing state of the art cannabinoid therapy with a committed focus on human wellness.” This is something we can rest assured about, given Caldwell and his partners’ collective cannabis expertise and connections to some of the top minds in cannabis therapies. “Evolving cannabinoid therapies for healthy, effective and affordable medicines is paramount for us in the immediate future, expanding to new and minimally invasive applications in years to come,” he states.
They are also highly focused on community enrichment and involvement of all. Sure, making a viable business plan and model preceded the ability to assist locals, but by a narrow margin, rest assured. “We want to be more than the neighborhood cannabis business. We want to provide living wage jobs to community members, both interested parties and qualified individuals in the world of science and research. Also to support the most vulnerable in the community through cost effective cannabinoid-therapy and treatments.” It’s a truly altruistic, and purely scientific, approach to an industry that is experiencing this less and less as proliferation spreads, and bigger business steps in brutishly.
While we here in Tacoma may have suffered a loss in the wake of CCC ending, and Caldwell exiting, Maryland sure has gained a titan of industry. Heck, if even half of what is up the sleeve at Bethesda Biomed comes to fruition, the world-wide cannabis community is going to benefit in an immeasurable manner. When asked what his message would be to the general public who may be unaware of cannabis as a medicine, Caldwell stated caringly that, “Countless people use cannabis for pain relief associated with excruciating and terminal conditions, chronic conditions like psoriasis and Crohn’s and overall wellness. Wake up people, it’s 2017.”