Medical marijuana benefits topic of Friday forum at North Lake Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Medical marijuana benefits topic of Friday forum at North Lake Tahoe

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — With Nevada's first medical marijuana dispensary opening in nearby Sparks last summer, and California's Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act signed into law last fall, the medical marijuana industry is under a microscope more than ever across the North Tahoe-Truckee region.

With that in mind, Squaw Valley Institute is holding a panel discussion about medical cannabis on Friday at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley, in an effort to open a dialogue about the current state of the marijuana industry.

"Medical cannabis has been the subject of much debate in the news recently," SVI Executive Director Matt Reardon said in a press release. "Our goal with this presentation is that attendees walk away with a more complete understanding of the current issues, good and bad, as they relate to this rapidly expanding and evolving industry."

Kayvan Khalatbari and Ean Seeb, co-founders of Denver Relief Consulting, which assists current and would-be marijuana-related businesses around the country, will lead Friday's panel discussion, which is titled "The Cannabis Industry and Science Research."

“We can break down barriers and stigmas that go behind the cannabis discussion.Kayvan KhalatbariDenver Relief Consulting

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Featured speakers also will include "experienced advocates and industry leaders … working to advance the cannabis movement" as well as "an experienced neurologist," according to SVI.

All will reportedly touch on the medical benefits of cannabis, new research and technologies and look at what's on the horizon.

"We want to give insight into the professionalism of the industry," Khalatbari said in a phone interview with the Sierra Sun. "There's so much more going on out there that I think, if people knew about them, they'd see the industry in a different light. We can break down barriers and stigmas that go behind the cannabis discussion.

"We hope that people will see that this is just like any other industry."

One of Denver Relief Consulting's clients, Khalatbari said, is the aforementioned dispensary in Sparks — Silver State Relief. In July, the dispensary became the first business in Nevada to legally sell medical marijuana.

Since, a medical dispensary has opened in Reno, and another is scheduled to open in February in Sun Valley. More locally to Truckee-Tahoe, meanwhile, is the NuLeaf medical marijuana dispensary tentatively scheduled to open sometime this spring at 877 Tahoe Blvd. in Incline Village.

Khalatbari said Nevada "coming on board" with medical cannabis, coupled with California being one of the most robust medical marijuana markets in the world, made North Lake Tahoe an optimal location for a panel discussion on cannabis.

"California's medical marijuana market is five times the size of Colorado's market," Khalatbari said, in reference to Colorado voters in 2012 approving a law to legalize recreational marijuana. "Just the ingrowth of California's economy, and the impact (of) Nevada (legally selling medical marijuana) will have on the culture … Squaw is right in the middle of two impressive beasts in the cannabis industry for years to come."

Along with highlighting the growing number of studies touting the medical benefits of cannabis, the discussion will also examine the rapid growth of medical marijuana dispensaries and the financial impact they are having on communities and states.

Additionally, the practices of sustainable farming throughout the industry — the environmental aspect — will be analyzed.

Tahoe Vista resident and mother Kara Fox, meanwhile, will introduce the event with a personal account of her son Julian's healing path through medical cannabis use.

Julian, who suffers from cerebral palsy and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, was having up to 30 seizures a day before the use of cannabidiol (CBD) dramatically reduced his daily seizures and increased his quality of life, according to SVI.

If you go

What: Panel discussion about medical cannabis

Where: The Resort at Squaw Creek, Olympic Valley

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29

Cost: $10 students; $15 adults; SVI members free

Online: squawvalleyinstitute.org