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National Interdisciplinary Cannabis Symposium 2023 – Interview with Sean Hocking

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In the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis legislation in Oregon, a state at the forefront of marijuana legalization, the need for comprehensive discussions and interdisciplinary collaboration has become increasingly crucial. Cannabis regulation extends beyond the bounds of law, encompassing fields like medicine, toxicology, and administration. To address these complex issues, the Second National Interdisciplinary Cannabis Symposium has emerged as a vital platform, drawing participants from diverse backgrounds to educate, exchange ideas, and formulate solutions.

This interview delves into the goals, structure, and significance of the symposium, shedding light on how it has evolved since its inception. With experts ranging from legal professionals to medical practitioners, the symposium aims to provide a holistic understanding of the challenges posed by cannabis and psychedelics regulation in the United States. It's a testament to the evolving nature of cannabis discussions, where collaboration across disciplines is key to navigating the intricate web of cannabis-related issues in Oregon and beyond.

MyCannabis: Can you tell us more about the goals and objectives of the Second National Interdisciplinary Cannabis Symposium and how it has evolved since its inception? 

Sean: This is our second event. Last year's event was held at the law school of the University of Southern California in San Diego.

The symposium has been designed as an educational conference relating to cannabis and now psychedelics regulation in the US and how those in the law both in the public and private sectors need to be aware of the ever growing issues as legalization occurs in more and more states and we get ever closer to a serious discussion in Washington about Federal regulation.

Most law and cannabis panels, symposiums are either one off online events or added to a business related cannabis conference and tend to concentrate on law as it is related to business.

This year, like last, we have selected not only legal experts but experts in the fields of medicine, administration amongst many other disciplines to help our delegates understand the complexities surrounding the topic in order to create action plans to help state and federal government and the courts better understand the issues and what need to be done to tackle these developments

MyCannabis: The symposium aims to bring together a wide range of disciplines and viewpoints. How do you ensure that participants from such diverse backgrounds can effectively “educate one another” during the event?

Sean: The conference is split between our keynote speakers addressing the main floor and then a selection of panels in breakout sessions that not only discuss and explain the issues but work with our facilitators and the audience to create papers and action points that all can then return to work with and use as the basis for understanding and creating new policies to ease the burdens of the court system, government departments and how a law firm may manage its practice to ensure maximum efficiencies.

MyCannabis: Could you share some insights into the keynote speakers or sessions that attendees can look forward to at this year's symposium?

Sean: Our keynote speaker is Earl Blumenauer Oregon Congressman and Co-Chair Congressional Cannabis Caucus one of the leading voices in Washington for sensible federal regulation of cannabis. Our panels cover a gamut of issues and topics. A huge issue around the country is cannabis,. psychedelics and DUI, we dedicate a whole panel to that. We discuss cannabis in the courts, cannabis and the legal information industry, the reality of diversity and regulations applied to that in the cannabis industry via both a  panel and another keynote speaker  Scheril Murray Powell.

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MyCannabis: As the symposium extends its partnerships and includes toxicologists, MDs, and attorneys, how do you envision these new additions enriching the discussions and outcomes of the event?

Sean: As I mentioned earlier, we see them as something akin to an “expert witness” in court. Knowledgeable but dispassionate. Some of our experts have up to 35 years experience in their chosen field and all bar none are regularly used by the courts, govt and law firms to explain to juries in major cases what the facts are. They provide a balanced and educated view that you won't be hearing at many of the cannabis specific events where panelists and speakers are usually singing from the same hymn sheet

MyCannabis: The Symposium Education Award (SEA) is an exciting addition this year. Can you provide details on the criteria and significance of this award in the context of the symposium's mission?

Sean: This year is the first year we have presented the award and in this instance we have worked with FL institution FAMU to identify an individual who has benefited the knowledge around cannabis via a dedication to education.

MyCannabis: Beyond the symposium itself, how does the revenue generated from this event contribute to the broader cannabis-related initiatives or causes, and can you share some examples of organizations that have benefited from these funds in the past?

Sean: We gave funds to the AJA NEARCP and DATIA last year and plan to donate to other participating 501C3s this year and we are currently in the process of raising funds to provide a limited number of attendance scholarships to cannabis law students .

It was a pleasure to have this interview with Sean Hocking. The Second National Interdisciplinary Cannabis Symposium will be held at Portland State University on 1-3 December, 2023. The Symposium brings together all of these disciplines who bring with them a variety of viewpoints. The Byline for the Symposium is therefore “Educating One Another.” This year we have extended our Partnerships and have broadened the participation to include toxicologists, MDs and attorneys.  There will be a professional Facilitator for the discussion breakouts and an inaugural Award called the Symposium Education Award (SEA). Click here for more details on this exciting event!

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.