Washington state has begun the process of interviewing to find a consultant to oversee the state’s new legal marijuana program. The position has already received a lot of interest, with interviews starting this week.
The job has mixed qualifications– from 5 years of regulatory experience preferred to a general knowledge of marijuana. Considered added bonuses are law degrees and legal experience.
During a meeting about the position, a diverse crowd emerged. Some wore suits and ties, while other wore sweatshirts with pot leaves on them.
The board has advertised for consulting services in four categories. The first is “product and industry knowledge” and requires “at least three years of consulting experience relating to the knowledge of the cannabis industry, including but not limited to product growth, harvesting, packaging, product infusion and product safety.”
Other categories cover quality testing, including how to test for levels of THC, the compound that gets marijuana users high; statistical analysis of how much marijuana the state’s licensed growers should produce; and the development of regulations, a category that requires a “strong understanding of state, local or federal government processes,” with a law degree preferred.
Liquor Control Board Member John Farley hopes to find one consultant to cover all four areas, but the LCB is willing to split up the responsibilities if they cannot find someone with qualifications in all four areas.
Bids are due February 15th, with a contract being awarded in March.
Groups bidding on the contract include a team of marijuana and regulatory experts from Montana, a corporate lawyer from San Francisco, a co-founder of High Times Magazine, and a medical marijuana grower whose collective had been raided. The consultants will likely team up and work as a group rather than individually.
Several people asked whether winning the contract, or even subcontracting with the winning bidder, would make them ineligible to get state licenses to grow, process or sell cannabis. Farley said yes: It would be a conflict of interest for someone to establish the rules that they would later be subject to. But once the contract has expired, they could apply for state marijuana licenses, he said.