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Green thumb? Wash. state looks for pot consultant

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Dozens interested in being Washington's pot consultant


By GENE JOHNSON Associated Press




Published: Jan 31, 2013



TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - The job description requests an unlikely mix of

skills: five years of regulatory experience, with a law degree

preferred, and extensive knowledge of all things marijuana.




But that didn't stop dozens of people from turning out Wednesday - in

flannel and suits, ponytails and hemp necklaces - to find out more about

becoming Washington state's official marijuana consultant.




As officials figure out how to regulate the state's newly legal

marijuana, they're hiring an adviser to fill in the gaps of the typical

bureaucrat's education: how cannabis is best grown, dried, tested,

labeled, packaged, regulated and cooked into brownies.




The Liquor Control Board, the agency charged with developing rules for

the marijuana industry, reserved a convention center hall for a state

bidding expert to take questions about the position and the hiring





"Since it's not unlikely with this audience, would a felony conviction

preclude you from this contract?" asked Rose Habib, an analytical

chemist from a marijuana testing lab in Missoula, Mont.




The answer: It depends. A pot-related conviction is probably fine, but a

"heinous felony," not so much, responded John Farley, a procurement

coordinator with the Liquor Control Board.




Washington and Colorado this fall became the first states to pass laws

legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and setting up systems of

state-licensed growers, processors and retail stores where adults over

21 can walk in and buy up to an ounce of heavily taxed cannabis.




Both states are working to develop rules for the emerging pot industry.

Up in the air is everything from how many growers and stores there

should be, to how the marijuana should be tested to ensure people don't

get sick.




Sales are due to begin in Washington state in December.




Washington's Liquor Control Board has a long and "very good" history

with licensing and regulation, spokesman Mikhail Carpenter said.




"But there are some technical aspects with marijuana we could use a consultant to help us with," Carpenter said.




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.




Farley said the state hopes to award a single contract covering all four

categories, but if no bidder or team of bidders has expertise in all

fields- regulatory law, statistical analysis and pot growing - multiple

contracts could be awarded. Or bidders who are strong in one category

could team up with those who are strong in another. Bids are due Feb.

15, with the contract awarded in March.




Habib, the chemist, said she's part of a team of marijuana and

regulatory experts from Montana who are bidding for the contract.

They're fed up with federal raids on medical dispensaries there.




"We want to move here and make it work. We want to be somewhere this is moving forward and being embraced socially," she said.




Khurshid Khoja, a corporate lawyer from San Francisco, wore a suit and

sat beside a balding, ponytailed man in a gray sweatshirt - Ed

Rosenthal, a co-founder of High Times magazine and a recognized expert

on marijuana cultivation. They're on a team bidding for the contract.




"I've seen the effect of regulation of marijuana all my life," Khoja

said. "I'd like to see a more rational, scientific approach to it."




Several people asked whether winning the contract, or even

subcontracting with the winning bidder, would preclude them from getting

state licenses to grow, process or sell cannabis. Farley said yes: It

would pose a conflict of interest to have the consultant helping develop

the regulations being subject to those rules. But once the contract has

expired, they could apply for state marijuana licenses, he said.




After the questions ended, the bidders mingled, exchanging business

cards and talking about how they might team up. One Seattle-area

marijuana grower, a college student who declined to give his name after

noting that a dispensary he worked with had been raided by federal

authorities in 2011, approached Rosenthal star-struck.




"It would be my dream to smoke a bowl with you after this," he said.






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SEATTLE (AP) — Wanted: A green thumb with extensive knowledge of the black, or at least gray, market.

As Washington state tries to figure out how to regulate its newly legal marijuana, officials are hiring an adviser on all things weed: how it’s best grown, tested, labeled, and cooked into brownies.

Those angling for the job are expected to meet Wednesday in Tacoma with state bidding experts to discuss the requirements and hiring process. Officials reserved a convention center hall that fits 275 people — plus an overflow room.

Last fall, Washington and Colorado became the first states to pass laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and setting up systems of state-licensed growers, processors and retail stores. Adults over 21 can buy up to an


ounce of heavily taxed cannabis.




link: http://the420times.com/2013/01/green-thumb-wash-state-looks-for-pot-consultant/

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