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More than 150 different marijuana-focused panels are up for consideration to be featured at next year's South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and its related SXSW EDU event.

SXSW solicited the submissions in July 2019, urging individuals to help them fill out the lineup for its “Cannabusiness Track.” The collection of panels are meant to explore the “technological, cultural, financial, legal and political ecosystems that are defining the cannabis-focused enterprises of both today and tomorrow.”

But not all of the suggested panels are going to make the cut. An online vote opened on Aug. 5, 2019, for people to support the proposals they want to see, and that voting period closes on Aug. 23. Proposed discussions touch on everything from social equity in the industry to protecting intellectual property to setting cannabidiol (CBD) product safety standards.

Here are some examples of what could appear at SXSW next March:

  • Frenemies: Cannabis Activists & Cannabis Industry: Kris Krane, president of 4Front Ventures and former executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, explores the growing tension between the marijuana industry and activists, as debate intensifies over how to create a legal cannabis market that's socially equitable.
  • Cannabis Restorative Justice: Members of the Last Prisoner Project, including Harborside dispensary co-founder Steve DeAngelo, discuss the long-term impacts of marijuana criminalization and their experience being incarcerated over cannabis. The panel will also touch on ways “the cannabis industry can work together to repair these past and continuing injustices.”
  • Is Cannabis Media Coverage Fair Or Biased?: Journalists on the marijuana beat talk about the evolution in cannabis coverage and biases in how mainstream media outlets report on marijuana.
  • Cannabis As A Catalyst For Change: A panel of experts, including representatives from the Drug Policy Alliance, will seek to inform the audience about “policy positions they can support to ensure the cannabis industry is operating in a socially responsible manner,” ensuring diversity in marijuana businesses and how to invest in communities disproportionately impacted by prohibition.
  • IP Rights And Threats In The Cannabis Industry: Intellectual property attorney Larry Sandell will share his expertise on making sure that cannabis companies protect their innovations and branding. He will offer a “primer on utility patents, design patents, plant patents, trademarks, trade secrets, plant variety protection certificates, and copyrights — all from the cannabis perspective.”
  • Full Recovery: Mixing Cannabis With Sobriety: Brian Chaplin, CEO of California-based cannabis brand Medicine Box, will answer questions about incorporating marijuana into a “sober, mindful lifestyle,” drawing from his own experience using cannabis to wean off an anti-depressant.
  • The United States Of Cannabis: Experts at the Marijuana Policy Project will give the audience a status update on cannabis reform efforts throughout the country and offer perspective on how reform advances through ballot initiative and state legislatures. The panel will also provide a preview of how MPP plans to allocate resources to continue changing cannabis laws in the coming years.
  • Descheduling Cannabis: Be Careful What You Wish: Market analysts will dive into the debate over potential industry changes that could occur if marijuana is federally descheduled. Panelists will raise questions about how descheduling could lend to a market model that favors established corporations over marijuana businesses.
  • Can The South Rise To End Pot Prohibition?: This panel will take a look at obstacles that southern U.S. states have faced in legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana. Entrepreneurs from the region discuss what it will take for “the South to ultimately rise above prohibition” and answer questions about how to ensure that the industry that emerges will be inclusive.
  • Reporting On The Corporatization Of Psychedelics: Staff at the psychedelics publication DoubleBlind will explore the rapidly changing politics of psychedelics including psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and MDMA (esctasy). Conversations will concern the potential corporatization of psychedelics and “accessibility of psychedelic medicine” today.
  • Cannabusiness In Africa: Is There A Future?: As several African countries weigh getting into the cannabis export business, panelists will go over how the industry can be “developed responsibly and help support broad based economic growth in some of the world's poorest countries.”
  • The Corporatization Of Marijuana: Panelists including former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota will talk about just how much the government — at the state and local level — should be regulating cannabis as well as concerns about underage consumption and impaired driving.

This isn't the first time that SXSW has featured marijuana panels. The 2019 SXSW festival involved more than 20 cannabis events, including discussions that covered female entrepreneurship in the cannabis market and the prospect of marijuana reform in Texas.

Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who joined the board of a major cannabis firm after leaving office, delivered a keynote address at one panel, which drew protests from social justice advocates who argued that restorative justice needs to be a critical component of legal cannabis systems that profit-minded “Big Marijuana” companies are currently benefiting from.

This article has been republished from Marijuana Moment under a content syndication agreement. Read the original article here.

Feature Image: The 2019 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival featured more than 20 panels discussing cannabis. For the 2020 festival, SXSW has received more than 150 proposals, and is asking the public to vote for the ones they'd like included by Aug. 23, 2019. (Photo by GSPhotography/Shutterstock)

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