KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Missouri prepares for medical marijuana dispensaries, experts hope to educate the public about cannabis in Kansas City.
The first Cannabis Industry Showcase will bring in people who work with everything from patient services and security to insurance and accounting. It's a learning opportunity one mother believes can no longer wait.
"Coltyn was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when he was 11 and he went through all of the pharmaceutical medications and he just got sicker and sicker," Wendy Turner said.
Turner's 19-year-old son, Coltyn started using cannabis to treat Crohn's disease after doctors discovered pre-cancerous cells in his body. She said his illness got so bad that doctors told her family there was nothing they could do to save him. When they gave him a year to live, Turner and her husband decided to take an alternative route.
"I had found a study in Israel that said cannabis beat placebo when it comes to putting Crohn's disease in remission so we took him to Colorado," Turner said.
With several doctors against the decision, Turner's family left St. Louis and headed west. Coltyn was just 13 years old.
"He just miraculously got better. We don't know why. We don't know how. We just gave him brownies to begin with and then we finally found oil that he could take in a pill and it's been six years," Turner said. "He was in a wheelchair and now he's a normal teenage kid."
Today, Turner serves as the director of education for the Cannabis Industry Showcase. Her son, Coltyn, speaks around the country to educate people about his experience with medical marijuana. He even started the Coltyn Turner Foundation, which will host a gala as part of the showcase to raise money for research.
While the Cannabis Industry Showcase seeks to educate patients, organizers say it will also offer valuable information to people hoping to work or start a business in the medical marijuana industry.
In 2018, Missourians voted to legalize medical cannabis. In December, the state will begin issuing licenses for dispensaries to open in 2020.
"We are bringing together a number of cannabis experts from around the country to bring their knowledge and experience to Missouri," Amber Iris Langston, director of media & public relations, said. "We've got a lot of people with experience in growing and we've got medical experts who can talk about patient services."
Lyndall Fraker, the director of marijuana with the state's Department of Health and Senior Services, will be among the speakers at the Cannabis Industry Showcase. It will also feature Jack Cardetti from the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association, Wy Livingston with Joint Venture Flavors and Nikki Furrer, a cannabis lawyer and cultivator.
The showcase will be from Nov. 21-22. Tickets for the showcase range from $159 to $399 for the full two-day conference and expo pass. The gala tickets cost $65.
Visit the Cannabis Industry Showcase website for more information.