United States map showing the states in which medical (indicated by cross) and adult-use (indicated by smoking joint) are legal. This map is available at norml.org.
If you draw a line connecting the states in which medical cannabis is legal in the United States, it becomes clear that no state in the South has made any real progress. Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia have all been dealt failed medical cannabis legislation already in 2016. Three states—Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina—have pending legislation or ballot measures in 2016.
Louisiana has an interesting history to legalizing medical cannabis—and one that illustrates the need for education in our southern states. In 1978, the state legalized medical cannabis for patients with glaucoma and those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment and, in 1991, the Legislature amended the 1978 law to include spastic quadriplegia to the list of ailments that qualified for medical marijuana. Over the years, there’s been fits and starts in legislation but interestingly the word “prescribe” has always been used to define how doctors could provide medical cannabis to patients. Even as recently as 2015, the state legislature passed a law that failed to legalize medical cannabis as intended because the bill said doctors could “prescribe” cannabis, which is against federal law. Fortunately for Louisiana, the bill was corrected this year and the governor signed this “dormant” legislation into law in late May. Separate legislation, which provides exemption from prosecution for anyone lawfully in possession of medical marijuana is still pending. Both of these laws will make Louisiana the 25th state to legalize medical cannabis.
Making change depends on education and awareness. Subtle differences such as “prescribing” and “recommending” medical cannabis can make or break a piece of legislation. But there are many other issues related to medical cannabis that can help doctors, nurses, attorneys, elected officials, care givers and medical and legal students understand how to move forward legally and with understanding.
That’s why Oaksterdam University has become a sponsor of the Southern Cannabis Summit to be held on June 10 and 11 in Louisville, Kentucky. Designed for medical and legal professionals but open to anyone wanting to learn about the benefits of cannabis, the Southern Cannabis Summit will focus on cannabis as medicine and cannabis law.
A number of Oaksterdam faculty will participate in the summit including Dale Sky Jones, Dr. Aseem Sappal, Jeff Jones, and Chris Conrad. Other speakers include the Honorable Mike Ward, Eric Sterling, Genester Wilson-King, Jonathan Miller, Tara Fein, Jasper Ward, and Alex Davis.
The program is CLE pending for 3-5 general credits and is seeking accreditation in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Topics covered will include:
- Evolution of Medical Cannabis Policy and Law
- Legal Update on Industrial Hemp and Hemp-Infused CBD
- Cannabis Sativa: Plant Physiology and Extractions
- Methods of Ingestion and Titration
- Science of Cannabis and Endocannabinoid System
- CBD and Aging
- Liability Laws for Cannabis as Medicine
- Maintaining a Legal Practice in an Illegal Market
- Federal and State Cannabis Laws
- Emerging Legal Practice Areas
- Cannabis Application in Veterinary Care
As a special treat of being in Louisville, the summit includes an afternoon at Churchill Downs (which is filling up fast!).
June 10 and 11 is coming up quickly. If you live or practice in a southern state, consider attending this valuable summit. At $199, this educational event is affordable! And, there’s still time to register!