Navy veteran opens cannabis bar in Virginia Beach for recreation and mental health

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Sunday is Mental Health Awareness Day and a first-of-its-kind business in Virginia Beach says it is helping people with its products.

Queen’s Green Apothecary is Virginia’s first “cannabar.” An Alice in Wonderland smoke shop filled with CBD products at 3259 Virginia Beach Boulevard in Virginia Beach.

Members can sit and smoke their own pot with friends, and anyone can shop for edibles and other products.

Co-owner Nick Rocha, a retired U.S. Navy sailor, opened it after he discovered the power of the plant.

“My oldest daughter was having a lot of mental health issues and no matter what we worked with doctors to find — you know pharmaceutical-wise, nothing was working,” he told WAVY.com.

A psychiatrist friend of his suggested they try cannabis. “And once we tried I — oh my gosh — it started working for her like right there,” Rocha said.

Cannabis can treat anxiety, that’s what Boogie, a customer at the cannabar said he uses the products for.

“It worked. It definitely — it worked,” Boogie said.

It’s also used for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. We also spoke with a customer who is 90% disabled through the VA.

“It takes my pain away. It takes my depression away. It takes my PTSD away,” they said.

Marijuana research is mixed, however, with some suggesting cannabis can actually cause mental health problems. More studies are needed, as the plant is complex, containing more than 400 chemicals. In general, you can’t prove it is strictly helpful or harmful.

As far as Rocha is concerned, it’s doing a lot of good for a lot of people.

“I never have any bar fights, everybody walks out of here happy and there’s never any broken beer bottles in the parking lot so that’s a win-win,” he said.

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