Joshua Crossney, Baltimore, Maryland

Joshua Crossney first got interested in the medical cannabis industry in 2015 when he realized that, compared to other fields of medicine and science, the research and testing standards for cannabis were lacking.

At the time, Josh was working for a company that provides staffing solutions for environmental laboratories, so he had the skills and connections to bring people from traditional science and medicine into the cannabis industry. And he saw a critical need.

“It was alarming to realize that some states do not require any quality control on cannabis medicine,” Josh says. “That means patients with compromised immune systems can be exposed to contaminants from environmental factors and human error.”

He also realized quickly that there were few platforms other than general cannabis business trade shows, so there was a need for a venue for researchers to come together to share information about new developments.

The next year, Josh formed CSC Events and launched the Cannabis Science Conference in Portland, Oregon. That first conference in October 2016 had just under 800 attendees and 75 sponsors. The 2018 conference in Portland, the third annual, had 3,000 attendees and 150 vendors.

“I’m committed to bringing in people with great technical knowledge who can be educated on cannabis, says Josh.

For 2019, the conference is expanding to two locations, with an April east coast show in Baltimore added to the Portland event in September.

“We’ve had great growth over the past three years, and we have seen many states on the east coast develop medical cannabis programs since then, so we wanted to branch out and bring our educational platform to this new market,” Josh says, “It is full circle to bring it back to Baltimore, where we’re based. The East Coast is really hungry for this.”

Josh is not just connecting research professionals, he is working to bring therapeutic cannabis solutions to children as a board member of CannaKids, an organization based in California that is supporting pediatric patients with conditions such as cancer and epilepsy.

“People have reservations about cannabis and children, even with debilitating conditions,” Josh says. “It may be controversial, but it shouldn’t be when compared to chemotherapy and other treatments.”

His work for children is Josh’s big passion, and he hopes that by combining industry and advocacy, he can help protect the medical aspects of cannabis as adult-use regulations expand.

“The ‘regulate it like alcohol’ approach really scares me,” Josh says. “Not as a medicine? How would the sick children have access, if it’s regulated like alcohol?

This profile was originally published in the March 2019 ASA Activist Newsletter