(LOUISVILLE, Ky, May 14, 2019) The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky's 2019 statewide health policy forum will focus on public health considerations associated with legalizing medical marijuana. Former Colorado "marijuana czar" Andrew Freedman will keynote the forum, sharing the impact of legalizing marijuana on a variety of public health measures in that state.

Other speakers will focus on the impact of loosening marijuana restrictions on:

  • at-risk populations including children, those with mental health issues and those in the criminal justice system;
  • accidents, poisonings and crime; and
  • state revenues and outlays.

Speakers also will address what kind of provider and public education will be needed if medical marijuana is legalized, as well as how the quality and dosage of medical marijuana products can be controlled, in what form medical marijuana products should be made available, and gaps in research about medical marijuana and its impact, among other topics.

The day-long Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum, underwritten by the Foundation so it can be free and open to the public, is set for September 23 at the Marriott Griffin Gate Lexington.

"Medical marijuana is legal in 34 states and public support is growing in Kentucky for allowing its use to treat various health conditions and symptoms, yet most policy makers have relatively little experience with the topic," said Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky President and CEO Ben Chandler. "This forum is not about changing minds for or against legalizing medical marijuana; it's about making sure that the practical public health implications are understood and considered in the policy-making process. The bottom-line goal in any policy decision on this topic ought to be protecting and improving public health."

Freedman served for three years as Colorado's first Director of Cannabis Coordination, creating the state's regulatory framework for implementing legalized adult-use and medical marijuana. Among his tasks were protecting public health, maintaining public safety and keeping marijuana out of the hands of children and youth. Cofounder of Freedman & Koski, Freedman is now a consultant for states and the country of Canada as they consider or implement marijuana legalization programs.

The full agenda and list of speakers will be released and registration will open soon.

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About the Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum
The Foundation convenes the Bost Forum annually in memory of Dr. Howard L. Bost, a notable health economist and founding member of the Foundation's board of directors. The aim the forum is to raise awareness of health issues impacting Kentuckians and to highlight model strategies and policy opportunities to improve Kentucky's health. The forum typically draws an audience of approximately 350, including health care advocates, providers and educators, business professionals, civic leaders, and policy makers. Presentations and video from previous forums are available here.

About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested nearly $28 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.

Media Contacts:
Bonnie J. Hackbarth
bhackbarth@healthy-ky.org 
877-326-2583 (Office)
502-552-3770 (Mobile)

Alexa Kerley
akerley@healthy-ky.org 
877-326-2583 (Office)
859-229-9611 (Mobile)