Meet Kelly Bruce- the owner and founder of a sun-grown craft cannabis cultivation company called CannaMommy based in Humboldt County, California.
As the tagline of her non-profit organization reads ‘For Moms By Moms’, Kelley’s empathetic demeanour towards mothers from all walks of life comes from her real-life experiences- she is a mother of four children and advocates for teachers and families on how to use cannabis during pregnancy, labour and postpartum.
Talking about her own childhood and the life that followed, she says, “I grew up in a very conservative traditional home, where it wasn’t easy to do things one would want to do. However, I was very much a free-spirited person from the very beginning and never let the traditions swallow me. I worked in the live music industry, taught skiing to children, owned a few music production companies and went on to do whatever I liked.”
According to Kelley, her non-profit organization CannaMommy supports families who are looking for safe access to cannabis. Apart from its cultivation practice, CannaMommy is a virtual and confidential clinic designed to help mothers navigate the confusing and expanding world surrounding cannabis and pregnancy. It provides a free online clinic that provides information, educational classes and free consultation for anyone who looks forward to it.
However, the story of how she got introduced to the substance is rather interesting- she turned to the substance after she was hit by a drunk driver on New Year’s Eve. Because she was a working professional teaching skiing to children, she had no choice but to get recovered soon and get back on the slopes. As a result, she accepted her doctor’s medication: Soma, a muscle relaxer, Percocet for the pain, and Ambien to help her sleep. “I started getting nervous about how I kept needing more [drugs] to feel better,” she says. “And it wasn’t until I had a really scary out of body experience- I was tending to my one-year-old daughter, but couldn’t remember doing it the next day- that I decided I needed to find other options.”
By talking to growers and open-minded doctors alike, Bruce finally found the strain, application, and higher cannabidiol (CBD) to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) ratio that worked for each specific ailment. For those who don’t know, CBD is a compound found in cannabis that is associated with medicinal properties like anti-inflammation and pain relief and THC is responsible for the plant’s psychotropic effects. “I became a walking billboard for medicinal marijuana and that’s when Child Protection Services came knocking on my door,” she says.
Despite displaying her medicinal card, and providing proof that she was working with her doctors, she was charged with endangering minor and other crimes. “I was completely naive,” says Bruce. “I openly admitted to using a Schedule 1 drug in my home but thought it was okay because I never did it in front of my child.” And while most of the charges were eventually dropped after she “rose hell” in the form of countless appeals, letters from the community, past employers, and her daughter’s father, she still got two years of probation. The experience is what led her to start CannaMommy.
At present, the struggles that CannaMommy faces are not endless. Legally, it faces a lot of issues on a daily basis- from finding funding to catering to people- the challenges are endless.
However, none of these challenges has affected the way their organization has progressed over the last few years. From being featured in Vogue, Parents magazine, NBC, Unity Division and a peer-reviewed scientific publication, her clients have absolutely loved her products and are encouraging others to give them a try.
As she looks back at her own journey and contemplates what made her reach where she is today, she says, “Someone has to take bullets. To make sure you have solid armour, the team you choose determines the win or the loss that your organization is going to bear. Having said this, I have seen how unjust things are and I can never stop until this plant is free to all and women mothers have free safe and access. What I’m doing is just being true to myself and sharing my story with canvas.”