I’ve met Bryan Buckley a couple of times now for this article and another magazine a couple of years ago. I was struck by his forthright character, passion for the plant, and his deep reverence for his service in the military, not a small task as I’ve learned. He’s got a handshake that speaks volumes, even before he speaks. I felt very happy to have him doing what he obviously loves, and he needs to bond with his brothers in arms through his passion and compassion.
Warren Bobrow: Where are you from? Where do you live now?
Brian Buckley: I was born and raised in a town north of the Philadelphia area called Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Once I joined the Marine Corps, I spent time in Quantico, Virginia, and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In 2011, I received orders to Camp Pendleton, California. I moved to an area called Carlsbad, California, and have been living here ever since.
Warren Bobrow: What do you do? Please tell me about your company and what makes you different.
Brian Buckley: Once I finished up my service in the Marine Corps, I worked for an Ed Tech firm, focusing on Higher Education. In 2016, I founded the Battle Brothers Foundation, a 501C3 Nonprofit organization that supports our veterans. It was around the same time that I discovered the medicinal benefits of cannabis. I wanted to move the dial with our nation’s legislators and began the process of being able to obtain an Institutional Review Board (IRB). Helmand Valley Growers Company (HVGC) was established to help achieve this goal. I have the honor of being the President and CEO of this adult/medical cannabis organization located in California. What separates us from other brands is that 100% of our profits go to fund veteran medical cannabis research. This research will include NiaMedic Healthcare and Research Services out of Israel and the University of California at Irvine Health. The first study is scheduled to take place in the fall/winter of 2021.
Warren Bobrow: What was your inspiration? When did you discover the plant? What strains do you seek?
Brian Buckley: My inspiration has been veterans. I never could understand why we do not do everything in our power to ensure that they live a life of peace and the American dream that they fought so hard to defend. I discovered the plant in the 2016 timeframe. I was just having a terrible time trying to sleep and relax. It was Andy Miears who told me about the positive impact that the plant was having on his life. Once I tried it, I knew it was something special. No pill could have the positive impact that cannabis had on me. That is what inspired us to go forward with an Institutional Review Board-approved study. We wanted to prove the medicinal benefit of cannabis through data-driven results. I love hearing feedback from veterans in terms of what strains have worked best for them to help reduce their ailments. At Helmand Valley Growers Company, we want to produce what works best for our veterans to help combat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
Warren Bobrow: Favorite childhood food memory? Current food passion?
Brian Buckley: My favorite childhood food memory would have to be watching high school football under the Friday night lights. For food? I love popcorn to a fault. I will take down a whole large bucket at the movies. When I make a bag of popcorn in the microwave, it is for me and me alone. Combined, I love watching football games while eating a bag of popcorn. Even when I go home, and I drive by the stadium on a game night, I can still smell that popcorn. My current food passion is cooking steak and chicken or whatever on a grill. Just find it to be relaxing. If you do it right, the food is incredible.
Warren Bobrow: What is your passion?
Brian Buckley: My passion is my family and the mission of proving the medicinal benefits of medical cannabis. I always try to keep a good work/life balance. Work hard all day, come home to the family, and spend quality time with the family. At night, prior to calling it a night, I think, “What have I done for a veteran today.” It is what drives me to keep going.