Minnesota’s governor is looking to hire a director to oversee the state’s new marijuana regulatory agency that’s being established under a legalization law he enacted last month.
A job posting went live on Friday for the executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM)–a position that Gov. Tim Walz (D) will personally appoint. The office itself will officially be created on Saturday under the law—with legal possession and home cultivation for adults set to officially roll out on August 1.
“The inaugural Director of the Office of Cannabis Management 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 job summary says.
“The Director will lead planning and policymaking; regulatory functions including compliance, enforcement, and licensure; social equity; tribal relations; legislative relations and operations management,” it says. “This position will ensure office activities align with statutes, rules and legislation governing the Agency.”
Responsibilities will include overseeing day-to-day operations, managing the office’s staff and budget, directing legislative and rulemaking needs of OCM, developing a regulatory system that ensures a “safe, accessible and ethical cannabis industry,” handling compliance in licensing and providing leadership in government relations, tribal relations and communications.
Applicants must, at a minimum, have at least eight years of experience in “regulatory oversight, public administration, business or law enforcement.”
“A bachelor’s degree or higher in public administration, business administration or a related field can substitute for two years of experience,” the posting says.
Another minimum qualification is two years of managerial experience that “includes overseeing professional and high-level management staff.” Applicants must also have a background in “planning, development and implementation of budgets, policies, procedures and objectives necessary to achieve the goals of an organization or program along with development of a strategic plan.”
Further, a prospective director must have experience at a regulatory agency, knowledge of the cannabis regulatory landscape, strong communication skills, “cultural competence,” and the “ability to celebrate diversity and a strong commitment to a respectful and inclusive work environment.”
Prior work in the cannabis industry is also a preferred, but not required, qualification.
Applications for the position will be accepted through July 31.
Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court is also looking for a designee to sit on a marijuana expungements board that is being created under the new legalization law. The Cannabis Expungement Board will facilitate record sealing for people with eligible marijuana convictions on their records.
The board will be formally established on the same day that cannabis possession and home cultivation are legalized, on August 1.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) separately said in an update published earlier this month that approximately 66,000 cannabis records are expected to be automatically sealed under the legalization law. Another 230,000 are set to be reviewed by the Expungement Review Board at the state Department of Corrections.
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While legalization goes into effect on August 1, it will take longer for the state’s first adult-use retailers to open.
However, the state has shown that it’s eager to expeditiously stand up the industry, and the governor said earlier this month that Indian tribes in the state may be able to start selling to adult consumers sooner than standard licensees.
Even before Walz signed the reform bill, the state launched a website that serves as a hub for information about the new law. Officials have also already started soliciting vendors to help build a licensing system for recreational marijuana businesses.
Democratic-Farmer-Labor legislators are pointing to the achievement on cannabis reform as a direct result of voters putting the party in the majority in both chambers after last year’s election.
The legislation that advanced through both chambers is an iteration of the 2021 House-passed bill from former Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), who this year served as campaign chairman of the advocacy coalition MN is Ready.
A poll released last month found that 64 percent of Minnesota registered voters support creating a regulated marijuana market, including 81 percent of Democrats and a 49 percent plurality of Republicans.
Two polls released in September found that the majority of Minnesota residents support adult-use marijuana legalization—and one survey showed that even more Minnesotans approve of the state’s move to legalize THC-infused edibles that was enacted last year.
A survey conducted by officials with the House at the annual State Fair that was released in September also found majority support for legalization. That legislature-run poll found that 61 percent of Minnesotans back legalizing cannabis for adult use.
Photo courtesy of California State Fair.