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Kanabec County Board weighs next steps on legalized cannabis

The Kanabec County Board of Commissioners discussed next steps to take in regards to the legalization of recreational cannabis during a meeting on Tuesday, Aug 1.

According to community health director Kathy Burski, an internal committee is exploring a public use ordinance to limit where cannabis can be used publicly in the county.

"So that would be at county parks, pools ... streets, any public place basically is legal to just light up, unless it's protected under the Indoor Air Act currently," Burski said.

Burski said county attorney Barb McFadden is working on a draft to bring forward at a later meeting.

An ordinance regarding the retail sales of cannabis is also in development, although Kanabec County Sheriff Brian Smith said developing county measures on the business side of the state legislation is more complex and could take a while longer.

"Every community is scrambling trying to figure this all out," Smith said. "Because everybody was behind the eight ball. As Kathy said, some things are restricted by state law. Other things, there's a glaring opening there. There are certain things we can restrict, and certain things we can't restrict. We're just trying to balance all that out."

Burksi said the committee is seeking to put a local registration process in place for businesses that are selling or plan to sell THC edibles.

The committee is also weighing how many licenses to award, and scheduling a meeting with county townships about the legislation.

"We don't necessarily want to wait to piggyback with the opioid one," Burski said. "But to meet with the townships and the mayors and just have this open discussion with them on what they would like to see."

Burski said that no further committee meetings have been scheduled yet as ordinance draft language is being worked on.

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