Former Mayor Eldridge Hawkins Tapped as VP/Government Affairs for New York Company Vying for a License to Grow Medical Weed

Blowing Smoke NYC / Staff


A team of New York’s leading doctors, scientists and researchers has come together to form a company that provides relief to sufferers of chronic and debilitating illnesses. While generally, the remedy is not new, its application for specific maladies and the targeted application for specific illnesses has been honed to a medical specificity that maximizes its effectiveness.

Scientific Herbal Advances, LLC. a physician-owned company currently vying for one of the five licenses the state will issue to produce medical marijuana for thousands of New Yorkers who suffer from chronic pain, epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, and other severe disabilities. The state department of health will be accepting applications until May 29, 2015 and will grant licenses in July.

While joining 23 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing the sale of marijuana for medical purposes, New York will have one of the most restrictive and regulated legal pot edicts in the country.

On July 5, 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a limited medical marijuana bill that made New York the twenty-third state with legal weed. The legislation doesn’t allow for home cultivation, and allows very few producers and dispensaries.

According to the NY Department of Health web site:

  • Practitioners will be required to complete a training course and register with DOH to issue certifications to their patients for medical marijuana. Practitioners must certify that their patients have a serious condition and the patients are likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefits from the use of medical marijuana for the serious condition in order to issue the certification. This process will ensure that medical marijuana is available only to patients with serious conditions who will benefit from the treatment.
  • Certified patients must apply to DOH for a registry identification card. Certified patients may designate a caregiver, who must also apply to DOH for a registry identification card. The card will contain the practitioner's dosing recommendations for the patient. DOH will be able to suspend or revoke the card of a patient who willfully violates any provision of the law.
  • Registered organizations must contract with an independent laboratory located in New York State to test the medical marijuana products.
  • Registered organizations will be able to dispense up to a 30-day supply of medical marijuana to certified patients with a valid registry identification card.
  • Patients may only possess up to a 30-day supply of medical marijuana.
  • The medical marijuana will be dispensed in a sealed and properly labeled package, with a safety insert included.
  • Patients must keep the medical marijuana in the original packaging in which it was dispensed.
  • Registered organizations will be required to comply with strict security and record-keeping requirements.
  • Registration will be valid for two years at a time, will be renewable, and will be subject to revocation.

In 2012 citizens in Colorado and the state of Washington voted to legalize the sale and use of cannabis in landmark referendums that ushered in a wave of retail weed outlets that offered a range of products to adults.

Though pot consumption and sale is against federal law, in a legally tenuously juxtaposed over increasingly loosening or overturned state restrictions. The federal/state discrepancy over legal weed notwithstanding, there is also no overall uniformity among states.

Recently, Seattle mayor, Ed Murray, announced that the city would close dozens of dispensaries that are operating without licenses as part of a statewide effort to reconcile the unregulated system with the voter-approved recreational pot industry.

While some may argue that marijuana has always been mainstream in 20th century America, it certainly hasn’t always been legal. To help navigate the precarious legal and regulatory landscape, S.H.A. has enlisted the services of former mayor of Orange Township, N.J., Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., as Chief Security Officer/VP of Government Affairs.

Hawkins, a retired police officer and former Emergency Management Coordinator under Homeland Security, is currently the owner/operator of BBSI, a security firm licensed in New York. Hawkins received his MBA from Seton Hall University and holds undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice and Business Administration.

As the trend to legalize pot gains traction around the country, S.H.A is committed to assembling a top-rate management team.

Dr. Ramesh Sawhney, M.D., CEO/Owner
Board Certified anesthesiologist, pain management specialist with over 25 years experience specializing in interventional medicine and ayurvedic medicine, utilizing both natural herbs and supplements.

Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., Ph.D. CMO/Owner
Award winning expert on human dendritic cell subsets, specifically with respect to their isolation, biology, function, and use as vaccine adjuvants in humans. Earned her M.D. and Ph.D. from New York University School of Medicine.

Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., MBA, CSO/VP of Government Affairs
Retired Police Officer and former Mayor of Orange, NJ, who served as Emergency Management Coordinator under Homeland Security. Owner of BBSI, a security firm licensed in NY. Received his MBA from Seton Hall University and holds degrees in Criminal Justice and Business Administration.

Alex Malinovskis, MBA, CFO
Former Senior Vice President at JP Morgan Chase, Alex was responsible for FP&A, M&A and Strategic Planning. Alex holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA in Finance from NYU Stern School of Business.

Marc Kassman, Chief Pharmacist
New York State licensed pharmacist with over 18 years experience in retail pharmacy, as well as chemical infusion and compounding. Marc will oversee post-extraction processing, packaging, labeling, and supervise a team of pharmacists at our dispensaries. Holds a Pharmacy degree from St. Johns University in New York.

Peter Calvo, Cultivation & Processing Controller
An expert in hydroponic farming. He has designed and constructed a numerous of medical marijuana grow houses in states where medical marijuana has been legalized. Peter has both a BS and MS in Industrial Engineering from SUNY Binghamton.

ABOUT Scientific Herbal Advances
Scientific Herbal Advances is a Physician's owned New York based medicinal marijuana company formed in 2014. Started with the idea of bridging the gap between traditional medicine and medicinal marijuana, they are currently in the process of applying for a New York State license.

The day after Independence Day, S.H.A. will learn if they will be one of the quintets of organizations allowed to pursue their mission of improving the health and wellness of the residents of New York.

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