Politics and Government

Minnesota opens search for marijuana manager

Pruning plants
The executive director of the state’s new Office of Cannabis Management would head the lead regulatory entity to oversee hemp and marijuana markets. Pictured: LeafLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News 2015

The hunt is on for Minnesota’s inaugural marijuana boss.

An application period opened Friday for the executive director position of the state’s new Office of Cannabis Management, which will be the lead regulatory entity to oversee markets of hemp-related products and legal marijuana.

Marijuana use by adults 21 and older will become legal in August, but a full retail market is likely a year or more away.

Prospective leaders of the new division have until July 31 to apply for a position that will be filled by Gov. Tim Walz. Walz intends to make the appointment by early fall, according to his office.

A job posting notes the director “will have responsibility for building a new state agency from the ground up and play a key leadership role in establishing and regulating an emerging new cannabis market in Minnesota.”

The director will guide efforts around compliance, licensure, social equity and relations with other levels of government.

Minimum qualifications include eight years of professional experience in regulatory oversight, public administration or other comparable service. At least two years must have been in a high management role. Knowledge of the cannabis and hemp industries is also key.

Other requirements include “strong writing skills and public speaking skills.”

A background check is required.

Pay will range from $105,000 to $151,000 per year.

Lawmakers considered requiring a cooling off period that would have meant a person couldn’t move right from the industry to the director role. But that was ultimately left out of a final bill.

“It’s not really something we do in any other industry in the state,” state Sen. Lindsey Port, DFL-Burnsville, said in May about removing the clause. “In a lot of industries we value experience in an industry when you come over to run an agency.”

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