BAS Research Center looks to further cannabis research

Priyanka Karthikeyan/Staff

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The BAS Research Center, located in Berkeley, is making strides in researching safe and healthy methods for cannabis extraction and manufacturing, according Bao Le, CEO and co-founder of BAS.

Le got into the cannabis business in order to ensure there would be safe product easily accessible on the market. His youngest son suffered from night terrors and seizures, and as a result, Le began to research options to help his son sleep through the night. He began giving his son a small amount of edible marijuana on a cracker before bed, and his son was finally able to sleep.

The oils from products like the edibles used by Le’s son often come from the “gray market,” which Le described as manufacturers operating without licenses who don’t have to put products through the rigorous tests that they perform at the BAS Research Center.

“I started to ask myself, ‘Is this the right thing for my son?’ ” Le said.

Le sold his chiropractic practice and entered the cannabis research business to create a safe and healthy product. He said some oil on the market could be poisoning consumers without their knowledge.

BAS tried to obtain a license for extraction and manufacturing in cities throughout California, but all applications were denied to the company until Le came to Berkeley.

“Berkeley understood our business model and gave us the opportunity to execute our business plan,” Le said, calling Berkeley a mixing pot of diversity.

The manufacturing license obtained by BAS is held by at least one other manufacturer in Berkeley, according to city spokesperson Matthai Chakko. Chakko said this license means BAS will be taxed differently than other manufacturers. The company also cannot sell product directly from its site and must sell wholesale product.

To obtain the THC oil, the company goes through a process similar to making essential oils. After making this concentrated cannabis oil, BAS then sells the oil to companies that develop them into products such as edibles or vape materials.

Victor Pinho, the director of marketing and communications at Berkeley Patient Group, a local dispensary, described the excreted oil as a starting point for many products sold at dispensaries.

Le said he hopes that with the recent passage of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana, the stigma surrounding the industry will disappear. Le holds his mother as an example of this stigma. Despite her sleep problems and pain that comes with aging, he said she would never get a medical marijuana card and it doesn’t seem like a viable option to her.

Along with social benefits, Le said he believes legalization will open up more avenues of research and encourage more cities to open up research facilities like the BAS Research Center. He said research would lead to higher standards that will make products safer.

Despite moving to the cannabis industry and producing safe products, Le said the “gray market” still remains a problem for BAS. By not having a payroll or the same high standards as licensed manufacturers, manufacturers from the “gray market” are able to sell at lower prices, putting BAS in a difficult position.

“No matter what, at the end of the day we strive to make the most trusted and safe products on the market,” Le said.

Contact Kate Tinney at [email protected].