South Philly’s first medicinal cannabis clinic opens its doors

The business, founded by a Lupus Nephritis survivor, aims to reach underserved communities.

Desiree and Justin Ivey, co-directors and co-founders of Medicinally Jointed, celebrate the official ribbon cutting of South Philly’s first medicinal cannabis clinic. (GRACE MAIORANO/South Philly Review)

At 16-years-old, registered nurse Desiree Ivey was diagnosed with Lupus Nephritis.

Although life with the illness, an inflammation of the kidneys caused by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, seemed like an endless fight for survival, Ivey’s experience with the condition would eventually lead to the first medicinal cannabis clinic in South Philly.

On Thursday, Medicinally Jointed, a pioneer medicinal cannabis clinic in this part of the city, officially opened its doors at Constitution Health Plaza, located at the intersection of Broad Street and Passyunk Avenue.

The business offers a scope of treatments, including wellness facials, chronic pain massages, health supplements, workshops and seminars, which all derive from hemp plants, as Medicinally Jointed is one of the first of its kind in the city since Gov. Wolf legalized medical use of the plant in April 2016.

But the progressiveness of the business does not only lie in its alternative practices, as the Newbold location was specifically chosen in efforts to expose the medicine to people who may not otherwise have access.

“I felt that there was a need,” Ivey, co-owner and co-founder, explained at last week’s ribbon-cutting. “There was a need for cannabis education, and there was a need for people in our communities to know that this was an option for alternative health care. … I am excited to bring this alternative health care to Pennsylvania and most, importantly, to black and brown communities who are underrepresented and underserved in this industry.”

“We also wanted to operate in a space that had a diverse community surrounding it, so that was paramount,” said Dr. Kisha Vanterpool, one of the physicians and medical directors of Medicinally Jointed.

Ivey was introduced to medicinal cannabis while living with Lupus Nephritis for most of her adult life. Braving frequent flare ups and hospital visits for several years, she eventually came across the unconventional treatment in her mid-20s.

Ivey’s husband, Justin Ivey, recalls the significant effects cannabis had on his wife’s condition, as he remembers Desiree retaining less fluid, less inflammation and experiencing overall less pain once she dabbled with medicinal cannabis.

Desiree Ivy and Dr. Kisha Vanterpool of Medicinally Jointed, celebrate the official ribbon cutting of South Philly’s first medicinal cannabis clinic. (GRACE MAIORANO/South Philly Review

Having dedicated much of his life to helping and healing Desiree, even recollecting when, after a week after meeting her, his new partner spent three days on dialysis, Justin says the cannabis was a blessing.

“When I saw what it did for her, and she kind of brought the idea to open up this clinic here, I pretty much jumped on board, because I saw what it did first hand,” Justin, director of operations and co-owner us the business, told SPR. “So, I think it’s going to be amazing, and it’s definitely needed.”

As the couple’s vision of opening this type of clinic for underserved communities crystallized, Justin resigned from a major corporation to invest in the dream, as the duo began searching for the ideal space and team.

While a cornerstone of the business encompasses the spread of education, such as how to register for the state’s medical marijuana program, Justin says Medicinally Jointed aims to accomplish more than just awareness.

“Once they do find out what’s available, it’s always the price tag that’s typically hindering people, keeping people from not wanting to do it,” he said.

The business is offering a discounted “hardships program” for those who find the services to be cost-prohibitive. If patients can prove that they’re on some type of economic assistance, such as welfare, they will receive a half-off price for a physician consultation.

Employees say the couple could have especially thrived opening Medicinally Jointed in more business-centric regions, like Center City or Bucks County. However, choosing a “true Philadelphia” neighborhood thriving with diverse populations simply boosts the overall genuineness of the Iveys’ objective.

Esthetician Marsha McCanney and co-founder and co-director Desiree Ivy celebrate the official ribbon cutting of South Philly’s first medicinal cannabis clinic.(GRACE MAIORANO/South Philly Review)

“I think it’s important, first of all, for everyone to learn and be able to access this medicine, especially in areas where, again, it’s not represented,” the business’ massage therapist, Angela Walker, told SPR. “…There’s a lot going on and all kinds of people that live here, and it’s a neighborhood. That’s what I like about South Philly. It’s a real neighborhood, which you don’t see that often. And, I think (medicinal cannabis) is going to spread with the lead that (the Iveys) are taking here, and also with the growing interest and information that’s coming out. It’s a perfect location.”

Info: To register for the state’s program visit,