Kebra Smith-Bolden’s grandmother, Hattie Turner, was probably smiling down from heaven with a joint in her mouth Thursday as Bolden celebrated the grand opening of her medical marijuana clinic at 178 Temple St. in the heart of downtown.
Bolden, a longtime registered nurse and medical marijuana expert, opened CannaHealth, a division of The Healing Choice LLC, to improve access in the city.
President and founder of the company, Bolden, 41 and a grandmother of two, is the first African American in the state to hold an approval related to cannabis and the first woman as well. Bolden said she’s also a “proud” medical marijuana user.
Bolden said her grandmother Turner, a well known community activist and honored volunteer, cued her in on the medical benefits of marijuana long before it was a thing, telling Bolden at some point she needed to smoke a joint and have a bath to move easily.
So, later, when Turner had an aneurysm at 88 and became withdrawn, Bolden got her some marijuana and Turner became re-engaged, her speech improving, as well.
The dramatic difference in Turner always stayed with Bolden, and so when medical marijuana was approved she wanted to help bring it to the masses. In 2017 she opened a clinic at 326 Central Ave., moving now to the heart of downtown.
Mayor Toni Harp celebrated the business at a grand-opening ceremony Thursday.
She said CannaHealth “is the latest, prime example of how New Haven is building on its legacy of innovation, even as the city adds to its reputation as a center for patient care and treatment of chronic conditions.”
She said breakthroughs in bioscience and personalized medicine have taught the world that traditional medicines and treatments don’t work for everyone
“Other medical treatments are appetite suppressants or leave patients nauseated; some patients — particularly the elderly — need appetite enhancement to maintain their strength and for added stamina,” Harp said, continuing, “The targeted, specialized, medicinal use of marijuana fits into the treatment picture in these cases, and has proven its value time and again. And now it yields a new business in New Haven, with the prospect for jobs, increased commerce, and improved outcomes.”
Business was brisk the first day in the second-floor space that has bright colors — purple walls and green accents — and a modern look.
The clinic is staffed with APRNs who now can prescribe according to Connecticut’s regulations for 22 conditions.
They see each patient for a half-hour appointment to discuss symptoms and find the correct remedy. Bolden said many of the cases in New Haven are post-traumatic stress around urban trauma, but their patients come from all races, communities and backgrounds.
CannaHealth gives a 50 percent discount to veterans and only charges $75 for an appointment for people on public assistance.
The clinic also will offer enhanced access to cannabis education and therapies, in addition to its participation in a new cannabis-business accelerator via The Higher Community, a division of MJM Strategy LLC.
Bolden said much of the stigma around cannabis years ago was racially driven, but in the restorative justice arena, people punished in the past for marijuana use or possessionare in some states getting a first crack at owning businesses related to medical marijuana.
Harp was joined by several other dignitaries in welcoming the new business.