Clones of medicinal marijuana plants are pictured at Los Angeles Patients & Caregivers Group dispensary in West Hollywood, California U.S., October 18, 2016. Picture taken October 18, 2016.
In an effort to help improve lives through cannabinoid research, Australian philanthropist Barry Lambert and wife Joy recently donated US$3 million (AU$4.1 million) to the Thomas Jefferson University. Due to their generous donation, the school has renamed its cannabis research centre to the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp.
This philanthropic move was fuelled by the condition of Barry Lambert’s granddaughter, Katelyn, who is suffering from Dravet syndrome. The condition is a type of epilepsy that causes severe and repetitive seizures. Katelyn had spent most of her time in and out of hospitals and was given a cocktail of epilepsy drugs. Moreover, the Lambert family discovered that medical cannabis, primarily CBD oil, was effective in keeping the seizures at bay and provided the child with substantial relief.
The first facility of its kind in the United States
According to the university, the major health sciences university will be the first of its kind in the United States to establish a centre dedicated to medical marijuana education and research.” Lambert’s contribution will be used to conduct research into the potential medical use of cannabinoids, which is found in the cannabis plant.
CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health Dr. Stephen K. Klasko said that the centre will help Jefferson “catapult our research and educational efforts in medical cannabis.”
Barry Lambert commented, “Joy and I were extremely impressed with Jefferson’s rapid progress in the field of medicinal cannabis research and innovative approach to exploring all avenues for new therapies to include using hemp-derived cannabinoids. We believe that solving big problems require courage and big ideas, and that is what we’ve seen at TJU and in the United States where 21st century laws and scientific approaches exist to the use of hemp as a safe and effective source of medical cannabis. We’re proud the centre will bear our name.”
From finance to philanthropy
Barry Lambert earned success by founding Count Financial in Australia, a firm that supports accounting firms across the country. The 70-year-old Lambert was also listed as the 154th richest person on the BRW Rich 200 List for 2015 with his total wealth amounting to $372 million.
Lambert has long been an advocate of the use of CBD oil but has never smoked cannabis in his life. Lambert made news in August 2015 when he pledged $34 million to the University of Sydney, which launched the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics. The philanthropist said that he hopes that the two research facilities would reach around the globe and work together
Aside from his philanthropic works, Barry is also a primary investor in Ecofibre Industries. This year, Ecofibre cultivated 500 acres of industrial hemp in the state of Kentucky under federally compliant guidelines. As a result of these operations, the company has recently launched Ananda Hemp which will distribute hemp-derived CBD products that are eligible for sale in all 50 states.