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Who’s who on the Campus and Clinic Steering Committee?

Great minds bring winds of change and recovery blowing into Huerfano County

by Travis Nelson

HUERFANO — There has been a lot of conversation about the recent movement to start the Huerfano County Faris Green Campus in the Northlands of Walsenburg. The Huerfano County Faris Campus and Clinic Steering Committee met Saturday August 5 at La Clinica in Gardner to discuss their next steps.

The committee had to identify what was necessary for the building of the campus, which is set to be located on 1,150 acres of land. The project will lease 100 acres from the Faris family for a dollar for a term of 20 years.

The campus will host six satellite campus sites which will house research facilities looking into the medical applications for both cannabis and hemp. It is suggested that two of the satellite campus sites will be used to study renewable energy. The campus will also draw its energy from utilization of renewable energy resources, with a mission of operating on 100% renewable energy by 2030. The project will provide many jobs for Walsenburg and Huerfano County residents.

Additional goals listed by the leaders of this project include a drive forward in the development of technologies in sustainability, water conservation and recycling, energy production, lighting, solar energy, wind energy, increased job opportunities, and higher paying jobs after graduation.

The steering committee is also working to launch a “Fight Opioid Addiction and Overdose with Medical Cannabis” project, which will be supervised by Dr. Uma Dhanabalan MD, MPH, FAAFP. The team plans to offer free medical cannabis evaluations and recommendations for any person with a narcotics prescription or who is willing to identify themselves as an opiate addict. Recent scientific studies indicate that in areas where there is medical cannabis and access to it, rates of narcotic use and overdose decrease by approximately 25%.

Dhanabalan spoke to a crowd of around 40 people at La Clinica. Here is some background on some of the members who participated:

Ivelis Acevedo is a graduate student from Puerto Rico and was the first professional to respond with a commitment to participate. Her efforts and dedication have been extremely helpful and encouraging. Acevedo recently launched Intacto LLC, a scientific technology company here in Colorado that will be run in concert with the campus.

Gretchen Mazziotti is the CEO of the American Medicinal Botanical Association in Houston, TX. Mazziotti works with hospital based cancer programs and is a recognized leader in natural medicine. Mazziotti serves on the Board of Directors for “Jamie’s Hope” which supports personalized medicine research while helping those directly affected by cancer and raising awareness on cancer prevention and early detection.

Kyle Hill is currently in the process of finishing her education through the St. Martinus School of Medicine to be a doctor. Kyle expressed a strong interest in working on the project at La Clinica stating, “It would be an honor to work at La Clinica. I see it!”

Dr. Mark Kimmins MD is a top colon and rectal surgeon who currently practices in Alaska and Canada. Kimmins has a history of working in the hospital and health care industry including direct patient care, program directorship for surgical fellowship programs, medical staff leadership and hospital and surgery center board leadership.

Kebra Smith-Bolden is a Registered Nurse from New York City. She is a market leader for Women Grow in Connecticut, and has an educational background from the Northeastern Institute of Cannabis. Smith-Bolden is dedicated to helping with the program after personally witnessing the effects of drugs within her community.

Dr. Elias Jackson is President of Research and Development at Vyripharm Biopharmaceuticals and served as a Associate Research Scientist and Doctoral Fellow at the Yale School of Medicine. Jackson’s background focuses on cellular and molecular biology.

The Colorado Cannabis Growers Association was thrilled with the turnout of participants at this past weekend’s event. They will be starting “Save the World Thursdays” at La Clinica to create a workshop where volunteers can come tour the facility and donate their time moving the project forward. La Clinica will be open every Thursday from 9 am till 4 pm for these volunteers to participate on site. The association is also working to bring media attention and publicity to this cause.

Anyone interested in the project should reach out to the Colorado Cannabis Growers Association at