Bruce Goldman, a Philadelphia native became of age during the storied “Age of Aquarius,” a time when America’s youth turned on, tuned out and explored new ways of looking at the world. As a student at Germantown High, Lincoln University and later Yale University, he witnessed this exploration. The use of marijuana, mary jane or weed as a recreational high was a popular one. Though illegal, its use was an accepted part of the culture, but clearly not a part of anybody’s serious career path.
So when Goldman graduated from Lincoln University in Oxford, Pa, he began a long career in health management and hospital administration. A few years prior to his retirement he noticed more and more conferences gave time to discussing medical cannabis (marijuana) but he had not considered it as a means of earning a living.
“I graduated from Germantown High School a long time ago, I graduated from the Lincoln University a long time ago and I graduated from Yale University a long time ago. Those educational experiences led me to a career as a hospital executive and a health care executive, and when I started thinking about retirement about four years ago I was wondering what I was going to do. I wasn’t really thinking about staying in the health care field. Somehow I found out about cannabis but at the time it was legalized recreational cannabis and it didn’t take much to realize there could be a lot of money in that so I was thinking about it in those terms purely recreational.”
He went to a conference in Washington state and found out about medical cannabis and was shocked at all the things that were being reported and the different science professionals who were there talking about the benefits of medicinal cannabis. However much of the research data was foreign because of the widespread laws against medical use of the plant in the United States. “What you saw were studies from Canada Israel and places like that. In the US even though our health care system isn’t all that great we’re still very judgmental about research that comes from other countries.”
Goldman began to pay closer attention to the field and discovered more and more states were passing laws legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational use. After retirement he formed a company and applied for a license to grow, process and dispense medical cannabis in Maryland but they were not selected. His approach was not to focus on the plant’s flower but the extraction of the properties for medicinal uses that could be reduced to dosages for prescriptions.
Through the application process he met Sterling Crockett from another company that initially was approved for a license but somehow their approval was withdrawn.
The two formed a partnership called AgriMed Industries. Based upon their experiences in Maryland they decided to look elsewhere for licensing. They chose Pennsylvania. They did their research, the due diligence and submitted their application and came out first, number one out of one hundred seventy three applicants. The process for Pennsylvania licensing was more clinical and medical and AgriMed Industries’ application was science focused and business driven. “We’re very proud of that. It’s because we approached it believing we could be that good, we weren’t trying to just pass. We studied the application, understood there were a thousand points and tried to figure out in each section how we could get the most points so we could maximize each section. I have to give credit to Sterling because he had been part of writing a winning application despite the way things turned out (in Maryland).
The partners linked with The Wellington Group, people who have a successful history of farming and agribusiness. They supply food to chains like Whole Foods and Wegman’s. They are rapidly to get the business running. They have sixty acres of land in Green County Pennsylvania near the West Virginia border. Their first state of the art greenhouses are being constructed now and they anticipate planting their first seeds and harvesting their first crops in 2018. The company has physicians and nurses who have pioneered in the pain management and have an extensive background in patient care which has put the company ahead of the curve in terms of application and uses of medical cannabis.
Long term the partners intend to expand into industrial hemp, apply in other states and partner with HBCUs in those states to offer internships, teaching and research opportunities. They have already signed an MOU with Lincoln University and they plan to provide wide-ranging economic empowerment, entrepreneurial opportunities and community development initiatives as part of their philosophy of giving back to their communities.
They plan to offer employment opportunities to non-violent ex offenders who were caught up in the penal system for selling marijuana. “We’re more interested in creating entrepreneurs than jobs because the truth is no matter what industry you go to, there are not that many that are labor intensive. There are not a lot of people working in factories and we need to be thinking a lot more about creating self sustaining things than about getting an education to get a job. There are areas like accounting, legal services, insurance, packaging, insurance, information systems and security that are springing out of these things. Within that are opportunities for innovation, new processes, patents and things like that. This is our way to bring our community into this. One of the reasons the reception for AgriMed Industries and most of the other (related) companies has been so big is because of all the jobs. That’s another thing our community needs to start seeing.”
For more information about AgriMed Industries or medicinal marijuana visit their Website http://agrimedindustries.com.