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Podulke-Smith appointed to Minnesota council on cannabis

Olmsted County commissioner will serve on advisory body for new state department as policies unfold.

October 27, 2023 at 1:04 PM

ROCHESTER — Olmsted County Commissioner Laurel Podulke-Smith has been appointed to the state’s Cannabis Advisory Council by the Association of Minnesota Counties’ executive committee.

Minnesota is the 23rd state to legalize recreational cannabis use for people 21 and older. As statewide policies roll out, the council will review related developments and make recommendations.

“This is a critical appointment for AMC, as we work to bring the county perspective to this statewide council,” AMC President Mary Jo McGuire stated in announcing the appointment of Podulke-Smith.

The council will serve as an advisory body to the Office of Cannabis Management, which is responsible for the broader oversight of the cannabis industry in Minnesota. Specific council duties will include:

  • Reviewing national cannabis policy.

  • Examining the effectiveness of state cannabis policy.

  • Reviewing developments in the cannabis industry and hemp consumer industry.

  • Reviewing developments in the study of cannabis flower, cannabis products, artificially derived cannabinoids, lower-potency hemp edibles and hemp-derived consumer products.

  • Taking public testimony.

  • Making recommendations to the Office of Cannabis Management.

“Minnesota’s new cannabis legislation will affect both public health and public safety profoundly, in known and unknown ways,” Podulke-Smith said. “I have been following the cannabis issue closely, including the cannabis industry as a whole, and am well poised to adjust to the shifting landscapes of the reality of adult cannabis legalization, and its effect on counties.”

Once the Cannabis Advisory Council starts its quarterly meetings, Podulke-Smith said she anticipates dedicating several hours a week to the effort and plans to share information from the Cannabis Advisory Council with her fellow county commissioners. The appointment comes as Olmsted County commissioners are preparing to consider a variety of policies related to the increased legalization of cannabis use. Policy considerations are expected to include a potential limit to the number of businesses allowed to sell cannabis in the county and potential registration fees.

During their 10 a.m. meeting on Nov. 7, county commissioners are expected to hold a public hearing on a proposed county ban marijuana smoking and vaping in public places, which would include businesses, bars and restaurants.


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