London (June 24)

Following a successful launch in Berlin, The Cannabis Society made its way to London for its second Medical Cannabis Conference on June 24th, 2019.

With the goal to educate and form strategic partnerships, the London Medical Conference was a unique way for North American doctors, European doctors and the global cannabis industry to interact.

This innovative and exciting conference included doctors from both Europe and North America, industry experts, investors and licensed producers in the cannabis business.  The conference was structured to include panel discussions with cannabis companies, as well as Canadian and European doctors.

The first panel to kick off the conference was made up of three Canadian medical cannabis professionals, and discussed the Canadian landscape. Moderated by Dr. Jonas Vanderzwan, the panel included Dr. Andrea Burry and Dr. Adam Norris. The trio explored topics such as the legal progression/development of the Canadian Medical Cannabis system, major trends and challenges witnessed in the medical cannabis space, and the future direction of the industry.

Dr. Vanderzwan is a Canadian physician with 15 years of primary care experience, and extensive experience in the use medical cannabis. As lead physician of a local cannabis clinic, he has been involved in the assessment and care of approximately 1500 patients, using cannabis as a treatment in a wide range of clinical conditions. As an early adopter of cannabis as a therapeutic agent, he has had the opportunity to travel the World, educating other medical professionals and patient groups on both the use and potential benefits of cannabis. Dr. Vanderzwan is an active consultant in the medical cannabis environment, having worked with both private and public players in the space, and since 2018 has been serving as Medical Director, and Chair of the Medical Advisory Board, for a Health Canada approved Licensed Producer of medical cannabis. In addition to ongoing membership in several international cannabinoid medicine organizations, Dr. Vanderzwan has most recently been appointed Vice-Chair of the Ontario Medical Association’s medical cannabis interest group.

Dr. Burry was the Medical Director of the Trauma Healing Center Cannabis Clinic since 2015. Dr. Burry completed her Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Psychology at the University of Western Ontario and both her Masters of Science and Medical Degree at the University of Toronto. She is a fellow of the Canadian College of Family Physicians and is an Associate with the Canadian Board of Occupational Medicine.Dr. Burry has an interest in medical cannabis and the role it can play in treating chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. She is frequently called upon to speak or give an opinion on cannabis use in the workplace, particularly as it relates to safety sensitive roles. Dr. Burry currently divides her time between occupational medicine in both the public and private sector and clinical cannabis medicine and consulting. 

Dr. Norris has been working as a physician in Brantford, Ontario for the past 5 years.He completed his undergraduate studies at Dalhousie University in Neuroscience.Adam received his medical degree from Ross University and did a Family medicine residency at Northeastern University School of Medicine in Ohio. He is board certified in both Canada and the USA. Dr. Norris is a Family Physician and Medical Director of GreenDot Medical Center, Cannabinoid Clinic.He is currently Assistant Clinical Professor for Faculty of Family Medicine and Associate Professor at the MGD Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research.This past year, he has taken a role as a consultant for Addiction Medicine at Brantford General Hospital.

The second panel focused on the current state of cannabis in the UK. Moderated by Tom Zuber (Managing Partner, Zuber Lawler), speakers included local professionals Michael Lynskey (Professor of Addiction), Dr. Dani Gordon, Zulfigar Khan (Co-Founder of CBD Consultants UK), and David Badcock (CEO, Drug Science).

The speakers described the state of cannabis within the country by exploring topics such as the number of doctors currently prescribing cannabis as a form off medication, major hurdles still to overcome within the industry, and the current stage regarding the legalization of recreational cannabis.

Zuber has advised some of the most iconic companies in the world on their patent and trademark portfolios. He is at the cutting edge of cannabis patent and trademark law. Tom holds a law degree from Columbia Law School, a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard Government School, and a biomedical engineering degree from Rutgers University, where he graduated with highest honors.

Lynskey is a Professor of Addiction at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London. Before moving to the UK, he held academic appointments in New Zealand, where he’s from, Australia and the United States. His research has focussed on the analysis of large, cross sectional, longitudinal and genetically informative data sets. Given rapid changes occurring in the regulation of cannabis use and supply, he is increasingly interested in studying policy approaches to cannabis and in the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids.

Dr. Gordon is a double board certified medical doctor and leading expert in clinical cannabinoid medicine after treating 2500+ patients in Canada in a referral complex chronic disease practice where she specialized in neurological disorders, chronic pain and mental health conditions. She speaks internationally on cannabinoid medicine and in mid-2018 moved to London to train the UK’s first cannabis medicine specialist physicians, develop a leading online cannabis medicine physician training program, help setup the UK’s first cannabis medicine clinics and become the vice chair of the UK Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society (MCCS).

Khan is the co-founder of CBD Consultants UK, a company, providing numerous services to the rapidly growing CBD sectors, in Europe and internationally, including; the farming of medical cannabis, licensing, clinical, regulatory, and investments. He is also the managing director of CBD Biotech Limited, a backbone for the new businesses and brands. With his precise expertise and interest within Oncology, currently, he is working closely with the World’s leading researchers and medics to envisage the possibility of setting up multicenter clinical studies with medical cannabis in various cancers, a highly understudied area, in spite of many anecdotes of its high effectiveness and miraculous cure.

Badcock has held strategic positions in the substance misuse treatment sector for over 15 years. During this time, he has met and worked with thousands of individuals who have turned their lives around to lead healthy, successful lives free from the burden of drug addiction. He was previously the Chief Executive Officer of Mainliners, a national treatment organization focusing on harm reduction and blood borne viruses, and also a senior manager at national drug treatment provider Addaction. In addition, Badcock was a committee member for the Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum from 2002-2005, the chair of the Alliance (supporting people who receive prescribed medication for drug dependency) from 2007-2010, and scientific committee member for the influential London Joint Working Group for Substance Misuse and Hepatitis C from 2010-2015. 

The next panel presented at the medical conference highlighted the synergies between the UK and Canadian medical cannabis practices. Moderated by Dr. Vanderzwan, the speaker panel consisted of Dr. Norris, Dr. Gordon, and Dr. Tom Chapman. 

The panel answered questions such: “Can you speak to patient driven court challenges as the impetus for establishment of a medical system, what that means for the likely evolution of the system in the UK, and the implications for physicians?” As well as, “MD as gatekeeper, Canadian MD’s still relatively reluctant to embrace it, how can we use our experiences/knowledge to increase knowledge and comfort in the UK physician community to improve patient access? Or should we be doing this?”

The fourth panel at our medical conference was moderated by Professor Adam R. Winstock, and discussed regulatory markets. The lineup of speakers consisted of Steve Rolles (Senior Policy Analyst, Transform Drug Policy Foundation), Nick Pateras (VP of Strategy, Lift & Co.), Avihu Tamir (Founder & CEO, Kanabo Research), and Dr. Burry.

Amongst the topics of conversation were key lessons the UK should learn from federally legal medical markets like Canada, the balance between enabling a successful industry that fosters innovation and research while also maintaining strict controls on product quality and safety, as well as the main difference of the European regulations on cannabis license compared to other markets with more history (Canada, Israel and the USA). 

To conclude the Medical Cannabis Conference, Emanuel Kotzian, CEO of Agentur Sowjet GmbH provided attendees with a marketing in cannabis fireside chat, moderated by Michael Fisher, owner of Teeside Cannabis Club. 

Kotzian began by introducing himself to the audience, followed by the exploration of cannabis marketing topics such as the biggest risks of marketing cannabis, the biggest differences between the the European and North American market, and what must the cannabis market have to do to gain trust and confidence from patients and doctors. 

Kotzian dedicates himself to the education about the effects of marijuana and lobbies for the re-normalization of this classic cultural plant. In 2000 he established Germany's biggest Cannabis-Magazine “Hanf Journal” and founded Agentur Sowjet GmbH, where he currently serves successful as its CEO. With more than 1 million fans, followers and readers on several channels, Agentur Sowjet is one of the leading marketing companies on the European Hemp Market. Its network of companies and branch offices extends from the Canary Islands to Kiev in the Ukraine and represents a unique platform for any market participant. Kotzian was born 1972 in Krakow and immigrated with his family to Germany where he became a professing World-Citizen. After finishing High School in 1992 he studied Economics. Partly he was serving at a German court as a commercial judge, what did not stop him to get engaged into local politics. Now he is deeply involved in the promotion and up rise of CBD-Products, what he believes is a very important key for making hemp a normal and accepted natural product again.

Despite starting life on the wrong side of the law, Fisher battled his way through the impoverished estates of Teeside, to unleash his entrepreneurial streak. This first appeared in the form of a string of businesses in the local area before his father was unfortunately diagnosed with lung cancer. After witnessing first hand the medical benefits his late father derived from cannabis, and after treating his own Crohn’s disease with the plant, Michael became determined to challenge existing drug laws to ensure patients were no longer criminalized for the possession of cannabis. Since his father passing, Fisher has been at the forefront of Medical cannabis activism opening his own Spanish style cannabis social club to develop the first cannabis social club model to be backed nationally by the police.

If you’re interested in being a speaker, sponsor, or attendee at The Cannabis Society’s upcoming conferences, please reach out to community@thecannabissociety.org. 

The Cannabis Society