Remedy Medical Dispensary solves mainstream problems with alternative wellness solutions.
The story of the cannabis industry is so filled with twists and turns that it can be challenging to pinpoint the spark that made it what it is today. But there’s one particular notch on the timeline that stands out—a watershed moment that not only planted the seeds for medical marijuana’s foray into the mainstream but also kickstarted the germination of Remedy Medical Dispensary in Columbia, MD.
It was 1974, and one of the first acupuncture clinics in the country, the Centre for Traditional Acupuncture, had opened in Columbia. The clinic, now dubbed the Maryland University of Integrative Health, was founded by Bob Duggan and Dianne Connelly. They first met during the tumultuous 1960s and would spend years building a life of holistic healing together. Traveling the world as a pair of seekers smack in the middle of the hippie movement, Bob and Dianne fought to bring acupuncture into the sphere of credible medical practices.
For Blaize Connelly-Duggan, son of Bob and Dianne and co-founder of Remedy Medical Dispensary, the parallels between acupuncture and cannabis are hard to ignore.
“They would go state by state and fix the laws so that acupuncturists could practice legally in each state. Exactly the same way that cannabis has grown over the past 50 years,” Blaize says from his Columbia office, where the wall displays both his MBA and an artful photo of Biggie Smalls. “It was one small group of people, starting in one state, figuring it out, lobbying for it, making a change, and then going onto the next state to do it all over again.”
That grassroots effort to legitimize acupuncture is precisely why Remedy’s logo reads, “Est. 1974.” Without the trailblazing work of Bob Duggan, Dianne Connelly, and a host of their esteemed colleagues, the picture of medical marijuana and cannabis legalization as a whole would be far hazier. Indeed, Blaize and his Remedy co-founder Mitch Trellis see their dispensary as a continuation of what Bob and Dianne began all those years ago.
Remedy Medical Dispensary exists today with the mission of providing Maryland’s registered cannabis patients with access to high quality and carefully selected medications aimed at relieving a host of symptoms with an efficacy once thought only possible through harsh pharmaceuticals. And it all happens in a setting that’s safe, welcoming, comfortable, and staffed by people who are there to be healers.
“We focus on the relationship between patients and patient advisors. It’s customer service, but not transactional customer service,” says Blaize. “All of the employees that work at Remedy are here to be healers. So we really made sure that they were trained the same way that my dad would have trained them.”
Though he passed away in 2016, Bob Duggan’s influence is never far from Blaize’s mind. Not only does the name Remedy Medical Dispensary come from Bob’s signature (Robert Maurice Duggan), but his philosophy toward healing is alive and well at Remedy.
“He used to say, ‘healing happens in relationships, wellness happens in relationships.’ It’s not a fixed point on the map. It’s a process; it’s a journey. There are ups and downs. It helps when we share our stories with one another,” says Blaize. “So although you could look at it as retail and refer to us as ‘budtenders,’ it’s a sacred kind of job.”
And that job sees Remedy meeting the needs of a wide range of incredibly diverse customers. There’s the 85-year old woman who’s been on every painkiller imaginable. The parents of a child with epilepsy. The young adult battling the pain of Crohn’s disease. And even the stoners in between who don’t even know they’re medicating.
“All cannabis use is medicinal,” Blaize says, repeating the message once delivered by his father. “He had a very interesting take on cannabis, and he started to get excited about the research and the possibilities of what it could do. It really brought him back to where he was 40 or 50 years earlier, watching the social movement and the social transformation on the political spectrum.”
Remedy’s diverse customer base reflects Howard County at large, with professionals, students, parents, lifelong residents, and newcomers alike all representing a rich community that deserves safe, natural medicine delivered with care and kindness.
The story of Remedy Medical Dispensary draws many parallels to the one authored by Bob Duggan about acupuncture in the 1970s. Two movements, both inspired by the undeniable need for better access to life-enriching, alternative medical practices.
“Along the way, we’ve watched it go from a hippie stoner thing to something that crossed bipartisan barriers. It’s not just for young people. It’s not just for older adults. It’s not just for black people. It’s not just for white people,” says Blaize. “It has a way of bringing everybody together and creating a lot of social change while kind of mellowing out the world.”