A University of Maryland Eastern Shore professor is among Gov. Wes Moore’s appointments to the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council. 

The appointment of Madhumi Mitra, Ph.D., a tenured professor of biology and environmental sciences, to the Advisory Council was announced on July 17 by the governor’s office. The council is under the Maryland Department of Health.

“The use of adult-use cannabis is largely uncharted territory,” Mitra said. “I feel that responsible cannabis use and safeguarding youth must remain at the forefront of any cannabis legalization effort. By addressing the potential risks of cannabis use and implementing evidence-based prevention, education and support measures, I hope to work with the council members to foster a safe and responsible cannabis landscape that benefits Maryland’s communities and protects its youth from potential harm.”

Established by the General Assembly in 2022 through the passage of House Bill 837, the Advisory Council will study and identify recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly on the public health impacts of cannabis legalization and strategies to mitigate youth access, misuse and addiction to cannabis. 

“I am grateful to these leaders, experts and public servants for agreeing to serve on this critically important council,” Moore said of the nine appointees. “As Maryland joins a growing number of states in establishing an adult-use cannabis market, we must ensure we have the right laws, policies and strategies in place to safeguard public health, promote safe and responsible use, and prevent underage consumption, drugged driving and misuse of cannabis products.”

Mitra, who holds a doctorate in botany from North Carolina State University, has been a faculty member at at UMES for 24 years. She also serves as the coordinator for biology and chemistry education programs. 

In 2021, she was among an elite group of scientists, health care professionals, attorneys and entrepreneurs to earn the first master’s degrees in medical cannabis science in the nation. The program was at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore. She played a pivotal role as team leader in the development of an educational app for staff and patients in collaboration with a Maryland medical dispensary.

Her various research interests include the nutritional potential of medicinal plants such as hemp.

Advisory Council members are not subject to Senate confirmation and serve four-year terms. The Advisory Council elects its chair. Mitra’s swearing in with the Clerk of the Court will be scheduled at a later date. 

This release contains information from the Office of Gov. Wes Moore.

Laura Benedict Sileo, director of agriculture communications, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, UMES Extension, 410-651-6084, lcsileo@umes.edu

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