Day 2

Day 2 – Monday, April 18:

8:45 AM – 10:00 AM

Impact of Cannabis on the Brain: The Current Evidence
Session A | Auditorium
ISSDP Session

This ISSDP invited presentation provides an overview of the current neuroscience funded by NIH/NIDA evaluating the impacts (both positive and negative) of different cannabinoids on the brain and brain development. The talk will cover not just the latest findings of NIH/NIDA sponsored research but also what these findings mean in terms of potential for medical therapies and risks for habitual and young users. Discussants (Humphreys and Szalavitz) will react to the presentation in terms of important insights for policy and potential future directions of NIDA sponsored research.

Presenter:

  • Susan Weiss, Associate Director – Scientific Affairs, National Institute on Drug Abuse

Moderator:

  • Rosalie Pacula, Vice President, International Society for the Study of Drug Policy

Discussants:

  • Keith Humphreys, Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University
  • Yasmin Hurd, Professor – Psychiatry, Neuroscience & Systems Therapeutics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Maia Szalavitz, Freelance Journalist & Author

What Can Be Learned from The Dutch Coffee Shop System?
Session B | Room C201/202

For over 30 years Dutch adults have been allowed to buy small amounts of cannabis in licensed coffee shops; throughout that time, it has been illegal for growers to produce or sell cannabis to the coffee shops. This panel will review the evolution and effects of this policy over time, as rules have become more restrictive. The panel will also discuss the many plans for change that are being discussed at present.

  • What have been the consequences of Coffee Shop availability?
  • How has the Coffee Shop system changed over time? What’s ahead?
  • What is the potential place of such a system in the cannabis policies of the United States or other countries?

Moderator:

Speakers:


Covering the Cannabis Beat: Press Coverage of the Cannabis Policy & Industry
Session C | Room C198

Long gone are the days of “reefer madness,” cannabis is now a perennial topic in the news. Whether there’s another dispensary raid, ballot initiative, or study about cannabis use, journalists covering cannabis have a lot to keep up with. This panel features a number of well-known writers who have covered the topic of cannabis as they discuss the fast-paced field.

  • How has the image of cannabis in the media changed over time?
  • How does media coverage affect the public’s beliefs about cannabis?
  • What role does the media have in dispelling myths about the drug?
  • Why do journalists make so many puns when writing about cannabis?

Moderator:

Speakers:


Changing Cannabis Policies & the Mexican Drug Wars
Session D | Kelly Skylight

Revenue from illicitly sold cannabis that is smuggled into the US from Mexico is one of the many revenue streams violent drug cartels in Mexico rely upon. Some experts argue that legalizing cannabis could slow or even stop the cross-border flow of money and cannabis between Mexico and the US, thus weakening drug cartels by reducing their income. There can be little doubt that the amount of cannabis being smuggled into the US has decreased in the past decade; however, other experts contend that the amount of revenue drug cartels generate from cannabis is too small to have a significant effect on their power or influence.

  • How much do drug cartels rely upon cannabis as a funding source?
  • Are drug cartels involved in any of the legal or quasi-legal cannabis markets in the US?
  • Can wide-spread cannabis legalization significantly impact drug cartels’ revenues?
  • Will impending cannabis legalization in Mexico affect attitudes there about fighting their side of the war on drugs?

Moderator:

  • Brad Rowe, President & Managing Director, BOTEC Analysis

Speakers:


10:15 AM – 11:30 AM

Cannabis Legalization & Racial Inequality
Session A | Auditorium

People of color have disproportionately been the victims of cannabis prohibition because of stop-and-frisk policing, arrests, fines, and jail, yet their presence in the burgeoning legal cannabis industry is conspicuously absent. Despite full legalization in Washington and Colorado, racial disparities in cannabis arrests remain. This panel will discuss how the liberalization of cannabis laws has (or hasn’t) changed policing and prosecution, and how policymakers and industry participants should incorporate minority voices into their discussions.

  • How has cannabis legalization affected minority communities in legalized states?
  • What barriers to entry make it difficult for people of color to enter the legal cannabis industry?
  • Aside from commercial legalization, what are the policy options that can effectively reduce disparities?
  • What current efforts—at the grassroots or global level—are advocating for cannabis policy reform through the lens of racial equality?

Moderator:

Speakers:

Movement & Lobby: Ideology & Industry in the Legalization Process
Session B | Room C201/202

The cannabis-legalization movement is half a century old. The overt cannabis industry is a much more recent phenomenon. Industry participants have big stakes both in spreading legalization and in determining the key details of post-legalization policy, and they are using both money and influence to move the political process, sometimes cooperating with legalization-movement forces and sometimes clashing with them. This panel brings together thought leaders for a discussion at the intersection between movement and lobby.

  • What do the movement and the lobby have in common?
  • What are the tensions?
  • How do they interact?
  • How are key players in the industry involved in the development of this year’s initiatives?

Moderator:

Speakers:


State Level Legalization: Outcomes and Prospects
Session C | Room C198

Four states now allow the commercial production and sale of cannabis; another twenty have medical cannabis programs. A legalization bill is moving through the Vermont legislature. Several more states, including California and Massachusetts, are likely to have legalization on the ballot this year. This panel will discuss the progress so far in Colorado and Washington State with top officials from each state, as well as some of the economic and public health issues that have come up with legalization.

  • How has legalization unfolded thus far in Colorado and Washington State?
  • What are some of the surprising and less talked about results?
  • How has legalization affected youth in these states?
  • What are the outstanding problems, and what are the options for dealing with them?

Moderator:

  • Jill Lamoureux, Independent Advisor & Contributing Advisor / Analyst, BOTEC Analysis

Speakers:

  • Andrew Freedman, Director of Marijuana Coordination, State of Colorado
  • Pete Holmes, Seattle City Attorney, State of Washington
  • Adam Orens, Founding Partner, Marijuana Policy Group
  • Sue Rusche, President & CEO, National Families in Action

Investing in Cannabis
Session D | Kelly Skylight

Federal laws, especially banking rules, deprive cannabis entrepreneurs access to many of the traditional investment opportunities and vehicles. This panel explores the challenges facing firms seeking capital, investors seeking opportunity, and intermediaries seeking to match firms with investors.

  • What are the likely revenue and profit streams from legal cannabis, and how do they divide by sector?
  • What are the likely capital needs of different sectors of the industry?
  • What are the potential sources of funds?
  • What special problems are created by the laws, and what strategies are available to firms, investors, and intermediaries to manage those problems?

Moderator:

Featured Speakers:


12:00 PM – 1:15 PM

Relationship Between the Demands for Cannabis and Other Drugs
Session A | Auditorium
ISSDP Session

This ISSDP sponsored panel includes three independent papers that examine the impact of medical Cannabis laws on harms associated with opioids and other substances of abuse, looking at the impacts of these policies in three diverse populations: the criminally involved, those being admitted for treatment, and those experiencing fatal accidents.

Presenters:

  • Rosalie Pacula, Vice President, International Society for the Study of Drug Policy
  • Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers

  • June Kim, Doctoral Candidate, Columbia UniversityDept. of Epidemiology
  • The Impact of Medical Marijuana Laws on Opioids Detected Among Drivers Fatally Injured Within One Hour of Crashing Between 1999-2013

  • Angela Hawken, Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University
  • The Impact of Legalization on Marijuana and Other Drug Use Among the Criminally Involved

  • Keith Humphreys, Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University

Moderator:


Enforcement Before and After State-Level Legalization
Session B | Room C201/202

Cannabis is now the largest illicit drug by revenue as well as by number of users. Enforcement agencies need to decide how much attention to devote to that market, as opposed to other drug markets or non-drug crimes. They also need to decide how to allocate that attention among high-level dealers, growers, lower-level dealers, and consumers, and what to do with those arrested. Cannabis arrests are now a significant contributor to total arrests and to the racial disparity in who gets arrested. Those problems change but do not disappear where there is state-licensed production and sale: the need to suppress the illicit market remains, and there arises the new question of how to enforce taxes and regulations.

  • In states which still prohibit cannabis, what is the best enforcement strategy?
  • Are there strategies to reduce racial disparity in cannabis arrest rates?
  • What shape should cannabis enforcement take in states that permit cannabis sales?
  • What role should federal enforcement play in states with continued prohibition? In states with licensed sale?

Moderator:

  • Sandy Mullins, Senior Policy Advisor, State of Washington Governor’s Office

Speakers:

  • Mark Kleiman, Professor of Public Policy, NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management
  • Eric Sterling, Executive Director, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
  • Pete Holmes, Seattle City Attorney, State of Washington
  • Joshua Vinciguerra, Director, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, New York State Department of Health

Financial Services for the Cannabis Industry
Session C | Room C198

Most banks remain unwilling to deal with cannabis industry participants even when those businesses are licensed under state law. As a result, many firms remain on a cash-only basis, creating risks of robbery and embezzlement and operationally challenging cash-management problems, complicating financial management, inconveniencing customers, while also facilitating tax evasion and regulatory violations. Section 280E from the Federal Income Tax Code prevents cannabis producers, processors and retailers from deducting most expenses from their income, greatly increasing the effective federal tax rate on the industry and thus creating a special incentive for tax evasion. Officials in states with legal sales (including medical dispensaries) are struggling to find ways around the banking roadblock, while cannabis businesses and service providers are finding innovative ways to deal with these problems. This panel convenes some of the leading providers of financial services to the industry for a discussion on the challenges they face.

  • What can business owners do about Section 280E?
  • Is there legislation in the works that may ease restrictions?
  • What are service providers doing to legally circumvent burdensome restrictions?
  • Given the prospects of cannabis legalization in 2016, how do leaders see the future of the professional services industry?

Moderator:

Speakers:


Tax & Pricing
Session D | Kelly Skylight

High legal cannabis prices can reduce the pace at which illicit markets shrink after legalization. Low prices can encourage heavy use, use by minors, and diversion from retail sale for illegal export out of the state or even out of the country. Plunging production costs will make taxes an increasingly important factor in determining retail prices. States thus face a complex set of problems. This panel discusses the delicate balance of taxing cannabis and what can be learned from the states thus far.

  • What is the ideal price point for cannabis? From whose perspective should we approach the issue?
  • How should taxes vary over time?
  • Should cannabis taxes be set solely as a percentage of price (as in Washington and Oregon), or instead per ounce of plant leaves or flowers (as practiced in Colorado and planned in Alaska), or per gram of THC?
  • Should different forms of cannabis be subject to different taxes?
  • From whom should the tax be collected: growers, processors, retailers, or consumers?

Moderator:

  • Beau Kilmer, Co-Director, RAND Drug Policy Research Center

Speakers:

  • Earl Blumenauer, Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Steve Davenport, Ph.D. Student, Pardee RAND Graduate School, Advisor, BOTEC Analysis
  • Mark Kleiman, Professor of Public Policy, NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management
  • Miles Light, Co-Founder, Marijuana Policy Group
  • Pat Oglesby, Founder, Center for New Revenue

1:30 PM – 2:45 PM

Federalism & Cannabis Policy: What Can and Should Washington Do?
Session A | Auditorium

States continue to legalize—both for medical use and for general adult use—a drug whose production, sale, and possession remain illegal under federal law. Under the current administration, the Justice Department has chosen a path of accommodation. Congress has remained largely inactive, other than in efforts to protect state medical-marijuana regimes from federal enforcement. The result has been tensions between the states and the federal government and between some legalizing states and their non-legalizing neighbors.

  • What options does the federal government have in the face of state-level legalization? Should we regard state-to-state variation as the proper working of the states as policy laboratories, or as a problem?
  • What are the likely unintended effects of state-by-state legalization under continued federal prohibition?
  • Could federal administrative or legislative action guide the process of policy experimentation in a more beneficial direction?
  • Would rescheduling matter? If so, how? Should cannabis be moved to a lower schedule, moved to a new schedule to be created, or de-scheduled entirely? If it is de-scheduled, what federal regulatory framework might apply to it?

Moderator:

  • Brad Rowe, President & Managing Director, BOTEC Analysis

Speakers:

  • Earl Blumenauer, Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives
  • John Hudak, Deputy Director, Center for Effective Public Management
  • Robert Mikos, Law Professor, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Sarah Trumble, Senior Policy Counsel, Third Way
  • Sam Kamin, Vicente Sederberg Professor – Marijuana Law & Policy, University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Cannabis Use and Its Implications for Health
Session B | Room C201/202
ISSDP Session

This ISSDP sponsored panel includes three unique papers that take very different looks regarding the potential health effects of cannabis use (some positive and some negative) and concludes with a paper from a clinical pharmaceutical research who discusses future directions for clinical research in our efforts to understand the full implication of cannabis on health.

Presenters:

  • Keith Humphreys, Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University
  • Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment in an Era of Relaxing Legal and Social Sanctions against Cannabis Use Disorder

  • Catherine Jacobson, Director – Clinical Research, Tilray Global
  • The Future of Cannabis Clinical Use and Research

  • Stephanie Lake, Research Assistant and PhD Student, British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
  • Key Individual-level HIV/AIDS Treatment as Prevention (TasP) Policy Measures Are not Influenced by High Intensity Cannabis Use in a Cohort of HIV-Positive People Who Use Illicit Drugs

  • Scott Novak, Senior Research Scientist, RTI International
  • The Association Between Motivational Subtypes and Medical Cannabis Consumption: A 30-Day Diary Study

Moderator:

  • Rosalie Pacula, Vice President, International Society for the Study of Drug Policy

Turning Over a New Leaf: Regulating Cannabis in Trudeau’s Canada
Session C | Room C198

Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, campaigned on a promise to “legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.” Canada would join Uruguay as the only two nations in the world to explicitly allow cannabis access for non-medical, non-religious purposes. How is Canada’s new government exploring its policy options, and what might cannabis legalization look like in Canada?

  • What are the potential gains and losses resulting from legal availability?
  • What policy regimes would be best for Canada given its populace, governance, and landscape?
  • How might countrywide legalization in Canada affect the United States?
  • How would a system of availability for any adult reconcile with the existing medical cannabis program?

Moderator:

Speakers:


Adulterants: Regulation and Testing
Session D | Kelly Skylight

Ubiquitous and unregulated agrochemical use is a serious public health and product liability issue. Lack of Federal regulation and unclear local laws are creating problems ranging from recalls in Colorado, to confusion in other state s (e.g., OR, WA, NV and CA). Processing of Cannabis exacerbates the risk by dramatically concentrating the agrochemicals. Consumers are unaware, growers fight crop loss, labs are still establishing protocols for methods, and vulnerable patients are exposed. The panel will discuss how stakeholders can be aligned in the short term by using economic incentives and remediation technology as opposed to waiting for enforcement or audit mechanisms.

  • What is the magnitude of the present problem?
  • What are the requirements for testing and which standard bodies and frameworks are involved?
  • What are the technologies for remediating contamination of Cannabis prior to its entry into the supply chain?
  • Which options for policy makers and stakeholders should be considered?
  • Is Organic certification even feasible?

Moderator:

Speakers:


3:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Plenary: Cannabis Policy Research Agenda
Session A | Auditorium

Speakers:

  • Jonathan Caulkins, Stever Professor, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Beau Kilmer, Co-Director, RAND Drug Policy Research Center
  • Mark Kleiman, Professor of Public Policy, NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management
  • Rosalie Pacula, Vice President, International Society for the Study of Drug Policy

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