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JULY 14 - JULY 22, 2015

Herbal Agriculture Inks Deal With Colorado

By Mike Hudson

JULY 14, 2015

Inside the Herbal Agriculture manufacturing facility are:
Front row l-r Gary Smith, Heather Jackson, Rick Winter
Back row tallest Jesse Stanley, Joel Stanley, John Stanley and Dr. Laszlo Mechtler.
Group photo inside the state of the art greenhouse at Herbal Agriculture.

(Editor's Note: The original version of this story wrongly included Josh Stanley in the story. Josh Stanley has no connection with the Stanley brothers named here as in association with Herbal Agriculture LLC. Jordan, Jesse, Joel, Jon and Jared Stanley are the Stanley brothers who are partners with Herbal Agriculture. Josh Stanley is not. (see related story), We regret any inconvenience this may have caused readers.)

Minimizing suffering and improving the quality of life for those stricken with debilitating and often painful illnesses are what the medical marijuana business is all about. And while New York lags behind many other states in its official acceptance of cannabis therapy, progressive physicians and entrepreneurs across the state are preparing for the inevitable legalization to come.

On Friday, Herbal Agriculture LLC, owned in part by owners of Modern Disposal Corp., of Lewiston, announced plans to partner with the DENT Neurologic Institute and Jordan, Jesse, Joel, Jon and Jared Stanley, Colorado brothers who have established themselves as leaders in the cannabis industry.

Marijuana is legal in Colorado for both medicinal and recreational use.

The partnership will convert a 12-acre climate controlled greenhouse in Lewiston.

The facility presently produces vine ripened tomatoes.

Representatives said the company expects to be prepared for distribution of medical marijuana by January 2016, if they are selected as one of five medical marijuana growers in New York State. Forty-three companies have made applications.

Herbal Agriculture has certain advantages in the field of competitors, not the least of which is their partnership with both the prestigious Dent Institute and the Stanley brothers.

Focused on neurologic specialties and state-of-the-art neurodiagnostics, Dent Neurologic Institute is the largest private Neuroscience Institute in the United States, with decades of Neurology and Psychiatry comprehensive clinical care, advanced neurodiagnostics, therapeutics and research.

The Stanley brothers are pioneers, who have reserved for them a special place in the history of medical marijuana for their work in creating Charlotte’s Web, a strain of marijuana that not only saved the lives of Charlotte Figi and other children but has been used as the gold standard example of why medical marijuana laws should be passed in several states. 

On hand for Friday’s news conference was Heather Jackson, mother of 10-year old Zaki Jackson, who was born with Doose syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy found early in childhood. There is no known cause, and the condition is often unresponsive to medication.

Together, they form one of medical marijuana’s many thousands of success stories all across the country.

As recently as May 2012, Zaki would have between 60 and 200 seizures while he slept. "They were brief, but very violent," Jackson says. "It was like someone was putting paddles to his chest. Then he began to have seizures where he would stop breathing.”

Enter the Stanley brothers, who created their famous strain of cannabis, Charlotte’s Web, containing minimal THC, the psychoactive ingredient, and very high levels of cannabidiol, the ingredient considered to provide the most medicinal benefits.

“We were reading these studies in Israel from the '70s, '80s, and '90s — studies where they saw positive results on lab mice using high-CBD strains,” Joel Stanley said. “So we decided to give it a try, originally focusing on aiding cancer patients. It was by luck that we discovered it could be so beneficial to those suffering from seizures."

Heather Jackson now serves as executive director for Realm of Caring, a non-profit founded by the Stanley brothers to educate the public about the benefits of medical marijuana. Asked what she would say to those still opposed to cannabis for medical purposes, she answered without hesitation.

“I would say I understand how you feel, and I understand there is a lot of propaganda and myth surrounding the plant,” she said. “But I would ask you to take a look at our journey and have an open mind. If you are inclined, please look at the research. We aren’t trying to make a statement. We have no agenda. We’re simply trying to save lives and give a better quality of life. We’re just trying to spread the word. Don’t walk a mile in my shoes, simply hold your child one time while they seize and turn blue because they’ve stopped breathing. Tell me then, what would you do if it were your child.”

The cannabis strain the brothers developed known as Charlotte’s Web, was named after Charlotte Figi, a six year old girl who suffered from a rare form of epilepsy. The high cannabidiol cannabis oil she received yielded astounding results. The case generated considerable media attention and soon the parents of other afflicted children were beating a path to the Stanley brothers’ door.

“We are extremely excited to announce the opportunity to work hand in hand with the Stanley brothers and the DENT Neurologic Institute in providing appropriate medical care with medical cannabis,” Gary Smith, Herbal Agriculture’s chief operating officer said.

Smith, who is also the COO of Modern Disposal, added that the partnership could result in research opportunities for cannabinoid therapy in those who suffer from epilepsy, muscular sclerosis, neuropathy and cancer, among other ailments.

Smith and company have secured an exclusive license to distribute Charlotte’s Web in New York. The company will be ready to begin cultivation as soon as next month, he said. The company has already begun the process of screening security personnel for the facility, which he likened to a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant.

DNI’s Chief Medical Officer, Laszlo Mechtler spoke of the kind of diseases he expected could be treated with medical marijuana, stressing more research is needed.

 “We are pleased to have partnered with Herbal Agriculture to develop protocols for the treatment of New York State approved neurological disorders, which includes, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), spinal cord injury, epilepsy, neuropathies and Huntington’s disease. Additionally, the Dent Neurologic Institute will focus on clinical protocols involving patients with chronic migraine and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We fully anticipate advancing the science, treatment and research on behalf the individual patients and their families whom could benefit greatly from medical marijuana’s therapeutic benefits.”

The New York State Health Department is set to pick the five growers in “mid-July,” a spokesman said. The program will make the drug available only to patients diagnosed with serious medical conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s diseases.





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