Unity 2016 Harmonizing Global Cannabis Policy and Action

March 18-22, 2016

Learn more about our speakers or Unity 2016 in our Program Guide.

Unity 2016 Keynote: Doc. RNDr. Lumír Ondřej Hanuš, MD., Dr.Hcmult -History of the Review and Control of Cannabis and Cannabis Resin 

Dr. Lumír is a Czech analytical chemist and a leading authority in the field of cannabis research. In 1992, he and William Anthony Devane isolated and first described the structure of anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter. Lumír Ondřej Hanuš is a research fellow at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. He has been awarded honorary Doctoral degrees – including Chemiae Doctor honoris causa (2007) and Medicinae Doctor honoris causa (2011), the Hanuš Medal (2005), the Addictology Award (2012), and Olomouc City Award (2013). His major research interests cover the chemistry of natural products (the isolation and identification of new compounds from plants and animals) and the testing of compounds for biological activity.


What Happens When Medical Cannabis is Rescheduled? 

There is no shortage of theories about what the rescheduling of cannabis will accomplish. The rescheduling effort represents an essential step towards stabilizing the cannabis industry and creates opportunities to fast track product development. The effects of rescheduling cannabis to a schedule allowing medical use will be shared along with key insights from both national and international experts. 

Learning Objectives: Attendees will learn about the history of cannabis scheduling, the mechanisms to reschedule cannabis, and the national and international impacts.

  • Moderator: Jahan Marcu
  • Ethan Russo
  • Paval Pachta
  • Steph Sherer
  • Grace Wallack 

Status of Control of Legal Production of Cannabis for Medical & Scientific Purposes 

Medical Cannabis and hemp cultivation and manufacturing regulations are being implemented around the world. Understanding these regulations is a moving target, and fully understanding these regulations requires a foundation in the basic understanding of the role of 3rd party accreditation/certification bodies and government regulatory agencies. Practical, technical, and legal issues surround the importation and exportation of resinous cannabis and non-resinous hemp products.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will learn about the different types of legal cannabis cultivation and production in different parts of the world, including but not limited to United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Columbia, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Jamaica, Israel, and Australia.

  • Moderator: Steph Sherer
  • Pavel Kabu
  • Ras Bobby Morgan
  • Maria de los Angeles Lobos
  • Mark Ware
  • Boaz Wachtel
  • Iain McGregor
  • Tjalling Erkelens


Extracting Flowers, Stalks, Seeds, and DNA: Cannabis Extracts and their Uses 

Different parts of the cannabis plant have different uses and each part can be used for a variety of different applications, but targeting the extraction of different parts of the cannabis plant will yield extracts differing greatly in content. For example, some parts of the plant make better extracts for medicines while other parts are better for isolating DNA for genetic analysis. This panel will discuss the utility of different types of cannabis extracts as well as the differences between the various types of strains and species of cannabis.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will learn scientifically accurate names for cannabis varieties, as well as the historical and clinical uses of various extracts and preparations. This will include functional cannabis plant anatomy related to resin production. Different methods of extraction will also be discussed.

  • Moderator: Ethan Russo
  • Ryan Lynch
  • Ezra Pryor
  • Melissa Wilcox
  • Jeff Raber


Utilizing ASA Tools for Advocacy and Activism 

There are a number of resources available from ASA to not only help pass, improve, and adopt laws and regulations in your state, but also to educate medical professionals, patients, and family members.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will learn more about available resources through ASA programs and about how to utilize those resources in their own advocacy efforts.

  • Moderator: Don Duncan
  • Timothy-Paul Murphy
  • Stephen B. Corn, MD
  • Paval Kubu
  • Beth Collins


Advocacy & Activism in Scientific Societies & Trade Associations

There are number of resources available to the medical cannabis industry to  improve and adapt to the regulations that will affect your business practices. For example, AHPA, CANN, PFC, A2LA, and AHP are examples of the tools and resources available for advocates related to health and safety standards for cannabis. Various scientific and trade associations are involved with voicing the concerns of their constituents and affecting policy changes. Different aspects of advocacy are available for a wide range of activities including cannabis professional training, laboratory accreditation, clinician education, and updating standards for implementing such criteria.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will learn about the resources and partner groups that are important for creating, maintaining, and implementing standards, as well the potential committees and groups to join in order to effectively communicate your message.

  • Moderator: Jahan Marcu
  • Franjo Grotenherman, IACM
  • Ezra Pryor, ACS
  • Kristin Nevedal, PFC
  • Mark Blumenthal, ABC
  • Cynthia Ludwig, AOCS
  • Jane Wilson, AHPA
  • Susan Audino, A2LA


Next Generation Research and Innovations in Cannabis Patient Care

This panel will discuss “How” and “Why” people are using cannabis as a medicine and wellness product. Cannabis has a number of well-known therapeutic uses, but the number of methods and variations by which people can consume the plant have substantially increased over the last few years. New research sheds light on lesser understood disease symptom management as well as rates of use among different populations. 

Learning Objectives: Attendees will learn about population and clinical studies that examine different types of cannabis use and reported effects. This includes the current extent of therapeutic applications and epidemiology in medical use.

  • Moderator: Marcel Bonn-Miller
  • Roy Upton
  • Mark Ware
  • Iain McGregor
  • Dustin Sulak
  • Ethan Russo

Reality-Based Cannabis Risk Considerations 

The United States and the world are seeing a rise in the quantity of cannabis products being consumed. This panel discusses the signs of a substance use disorder, disorders associated with exogenous cannabinoid use, potential long-term side effects of using well-known and lesser-known cannabinoids, potential side effects from drug-CBD/THC interactions, and current treatments for cannabinoid side effects, and substance abuse related to the endocannabinoid system. 

Learning Objectives: Attendees will learn how drug abuse studies are conducted, how to interpret data, and to think critically about controversial data that has a very big impact on shaping public policy.

  • Moderator: Mark Ware
  • Marcel Bonn-Miller
  • Ryan Vandrey
  • Jahan Marcu


Overview of quality assurance of medicinal cannabis 

Quality assurance systems are an integral part of every commercial good and service, and are used in manufacturing everything intended for both human and animal consumption.  For the last 3 years, cannabis standards have been adopted in 11 states based on regulatory tools such as Patient Focused Certification (PFC), ISO17025, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Recommendations for Regulators, and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) Cannabis monograph. 

Learning Objectives: Attendees will learn about the existing standards, and how they were created, updated, and adopted by 11 states for producing safe and reliable cannabis products.

  • Moderator: Mark Bluementhal
  • Tjaling Erkelens
  • Roy Upton
  • Kristin Nevedal
  • Susan Audio
  • Ryan Vandrey


CBD Only Laws: First Step or Roadblock? 

With 17 out of the 40 states having adopted medical cannabis laws restricting cannabis to Cannabidiol (CBD) rather than the full range of cannabinoids, there is a lot of debate on whether or not this approach is helpful or detrimental to states moving forward with eventual comprehensive legislation. Attendees will learn the various perspectives on passing CBD vs. full medical cannabis legislation and how the political climate in states can influence this approach.


Workshop A: State Laws: Perspectives from Patients (Dolly Madison Ballroom)

At the beginning of this year, ASA released its annual report: “Medical Marijuana Access in the US: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” which evaluates the array of differing laws across the country from a patient's perspective.   In this interactive session, attendees will learn how state laws are affecting other patients throughout the country and have the opportunity to share their own stories.  In addition, participants will receive lobbying tips from some of the most effective patient advocates in the country.

  • Moderator: Beth Collins
  • Sebastien Cotte
  • Kate Hintz
  • Jeanne Sauro


Federal Legislation 2016, What is at Stake? 

Americans for Safe Access and other advocates have worked for years to lay the foundations for lasting changes for patients. We’re making real progress, but until we pass the CARERS Act, state laws and the people they are intended to protect remain in jeopardy.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will learn the difference between policies and laws, the impact CARERS will have on state programs, and what is at risk if we do not pass federal legislation in 2016. 

  • Moderator: Mike Liszewski
  • Alexander Campbell
  • Steph Sherer
  • John Hudak
  • Stephanie Phillips


Intersection of Advocacy & Commerce in the Medical Marijuana Industry 

Advocacy and commerce may seem like strange bedfellows, yet they go hand-in-hand for medical marijuana and safe access.  In this workshop, participants will learn how activism and enterprise must collaborate to maximize social impact and make medical cannabis available to all who are in need. Participants will gain perspective on what they can do to improve the policy, regulatory and commercial landscapes. 

Following a brief review of the historical interplay between cannabis advocacy and commerce, real-life examples of how the twin dynamics are playing out for OpenVAPE , one of the largest brands in the medical marijuana industry, will be featured. Participants will also engage in a hands-on example of how businesses can work with advocates – and vice-versa - to enroll regulatory acceptance and increase the safety and availability of medical cannabis products for patients.

  • Steve Berg