(LOUISVILLE, Ky, July 8, 2019) Registration is now open for a statewide forum on medical marijuana to be hosted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky on September 23 in Lexington. The forum is not intended to change minds about whether marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes, said CEO Ben Chandler. Rather, speakers will share facts and data about how best to promote the health, wellbeing and safety of Kentuckians as lawmakers consider new policies around medical cannabis in the Commonwealth.

"Since 1996, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, and public support for the idea is growing in Kentucky," Chandler said. "Yet, most policymakers and Kentucky residents haven't had the chance to learn how various regulatory restrictions have affected health outcomes for different population groups or what kinds of public health resources are needed when restrictions are reduced. This will be a balanced forum designed to answer a lot of questions about the issue, and give attendees the chance to engage with experts on all sides." 

Dr. Jeffrey Howard, Kentucky public health commissioner, will offer welcoming remarks at the 2019 Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum. Titled "Medical Marijuana Fact and Fiction: Practical Public Health Policy Considerations for Kentucky," the event is set for 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, September 23, at the Marriott Griffin Gate in Lexington. The free forum includes lunch, but advance registration is required. Register here.

Other morning speakers include a keynote presentation from former Colorado "marijuana czar" Andrew Freedman, who will discuss the public health infrastructure put in place when that state legalized medical marijuana in 2000 and how public health has been affected since then, including when the state eased restrictions even further to allow recreational marijuana in 2007. Dr. Shanna Babalonis of the University of Kentucky will provide an overview of how marijuana has changed in recent decades, and Brian Higgins, a Frost Brown Todd attorney, will share how marijuana is regulated across the country today.

Following a networking lunch, attendees will select two of three afternoon panel discussions, each with three speakers and an opportunity for moderated audience discussion:

  • Health Impacts on At-Risk and Underserved Populations, moderated by Miranda Sloan, Kentucky Psychiatric Medical Association
    • Persons with Mental Health Disorders: Dr. Shanna Babalonis, University of Kentucky
    • Accidents, poisonings and crime: Will Jones, Smart Approaches to Marijuana
    • Infants/Children/Youth/Pregnant Women: Dr. Kathy Hager, Kentucky Nurses Association
  • Revenues and Outlays, moderated by Dr. Brent Wright, University of Louisville
    • Who can grow and sell products, what kinds of products and where: Evan Ogburn, Pharm-CBD
    • Expected State Revenues and Expenses: Beau Whitney, New Frontier Data
    • Testing and Quality Control: Lisa Gill, Consumer Report
  • Future of Cannabis Regulation, moderated by Anthony Zipple, Consultant and former CEO, Centerstone of Kentucky
    • Regulation Considerations for Kentucky: Jaime Montalvo, Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana
    • Prescriber, Distributer and Public Education: Dr. Daneesh Mazloomdoost, Wellward Regenerative Medicine
    • Cannabis and the Justice System: Ed Monahan, NAPD Fund for Justice, Inc.

The full agenda and speaker biographies are available on the registration site here.

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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)