17 years of experimentation implementing medical cannabis laws has shown that not all medical cannabis laws are working equally for those who the laws are designed to aide and passing laws on medical cannabis is only the first step in bringing safe and legal access for patients. Advocates from around the country will share their experiences and perspectives on various medical cannabis models including new challenges and trends.
Matt Allen, Massachusetts
Kari Boiter, Washington
Len Goodman, New Mexico
Robert Jacob, California
Josh Kappel, Colorado
Tim Smale from Maine
Eric Sterling, Maryland
Matthew Allen graduated in 2000 from Antioch College, and has worked as an organizer on a variety of social and political issues. As an undergraduate he completed internships at the Illinois Coalition to End Homelessness and Democracy North Carolina. In 2006 Matt began working on changing sentencing for low-level drug offenders in order to increase funding for substance abuse treatment services. He formed a coalition in support of diversion to treatment legislation that grew to include the National Alliance of Social Workers, Boston Public Health Commission, the Massachusetts Bar Association and trade groups representing over 80 substance abuse prevention providers. Over the past several years he has focused on medical marijuana reform and has encountered similar success in building a broad coalition of supporters. As Executive Director of Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, he has spent countless hours traveling around the state speaking with hundreds of patients suffering from serious conditions who could benefit from safe access to medical marijuana, and working with them to bring their stories forward. He is currently earning a graduate degree from Northeastern in Urban and Regional Studies.
Kari Boiter is a Legislative Analyst at Americans For Safe Access, currently based in Washington State. Prior to her advocacy work, Kari spent three years at the Washington State Legislature and enjoyed a successful career in broadcast journalism. As a medical cannabis patient who struggles with a rare connective tissue disorder that is often crippling, she is determined to see safe, reliable access to affordable medicine become a reality in all 50 states, as well as the federal level. In the past 18 months, Kari has helped author and introduce three different legislative proposals in Washington State. In 2013, she was named ASA’s national “Medical Cannabis Patient Advocate of the Year” award for public outreach on behalf of federal defendants facing lengthy mandatory minimum prison terms for state-legal medical marijuana. In addition to her policy expertise, Kari has played a leading role as Media Coordinator and Strategic Advisor to the Kettle Falls Five, a family of medical marijuana patients who defiantly stood trial and was recently acquitted of nearly all federal drug trafficking charges. She has also served as a consultant for international media including The Guardian, CNN, TIME Magazine, USA Today, Washington Post, New York Times, Associated Press, Forbes, Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post, plus local newspaper and TV affiliates throughout the United States.
Sebastopol Mayor Robert Jacob is also the founder and Executive Director of Peace in Medicine, a model medical cannabis dispensary with locations in Sebastopol and Santa Rosa, California. He is also the Executive Director of SPARC, a dispensary in San Francisco.
Joshua Kappel, Esq., partner at Vicente Sederberg LLC, graduated in the top 10 percent of his class at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in May 2010. While in law school, Josh received both the Patton Boggs Public Policy Fellowship and the Public Interest Law Clerkship to work for Sensible Colorado. Josh also interned with the National ACLU's Drug Law Reform Project in Santa Cruz and the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar. At Vicente Sederberg, Josh routinely provides advice to patients, caregivers, and businesses about medical marijuana, licensing, regulatory compliance, general business and transactional law, and the intersection of state and federal law.
Tim Smale is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Remedy Compassion Center in Auburn, Maine amd is a results-driven leader with 30 years domestic and international experience with non-profit and for-profit organizations, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies, including a leading medical cannabis consulting organization.
Eric E. Sterling, Esq., has over 32 years of experience as a lawyer working on medical marijuana issues. Since 1989 he has been the President of The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, a private non-profit educational organization that helps educate the nation about criminal justice issues and failed global drug policy.