(LOUISVILLE, Ky - SEPTEMBER 2, 2019) Thirty-three states have legalized marijuana in some form, with 21 of them permitting cannabis for medical uses and 11 legalizing recreational use. A free conference scheduled later this month to explore the public health implications of allowing medical marijuana in Kentucky is nearly full. Today, the Foundation for a Healthy encouraged those interested in gaining a better understanding of what legalization could mean for Kentucky, and the chance to engage with experts on all sides of the issue, to register this week.

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 is open to all who are interested, including media, and includes lunch, but advance registration is required. Register here (those who register after the event is full will be added to a waiting list).

Speakers include a keynote address 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 the potency and other aspects of marijuana have changed in recent decades. Brian Higgins, a Frost Brown Todd attorney, will discuss the changing marijuana regulatory landscape in the United States and Canada.

Following 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

Moderator: 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

Moderator: 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 Reports

Future of Cannabis Regulation

Moderator: 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. Danesh 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.

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)