A public search is underway for what's likely to be an unusually high-profile state job: manager of Minnesota's new medical marijuana program.
The person hired will run the agency's newly created Office of Medical Cannabis. The Minnesota Department of Health posted the job late last week on the state's employment website, seeking candidates with a knowledge of state and federal medical marijuana laws, as well as "ability to manage ambiguity and differing points of view."
Gov. Mark Dayton signed the medical marijuana program into law late last week, after a tumultuous path through the Legislature that pitted patients and their advocates against skeptics in law enforcement and some medical circles. The expectation is that about 5,000 Minnesotans with a range of maladies will have access to oil and liquid compounds of the cannabis plant starting in July 2015.
The department is charged with monitoring the treatment and outcomes of patients who enroll, as well as contracting with private companies that will manufacture and distribute the cannabis products.
In dubbing the entity the Office of Medical Cannabis, the Health Department avoided using the word marijuana, which many advocates see as having negative cultural and legal connotations. In describing the drug, the words "cannabis" and "marijuana" are interchangeable, but the plant genus itself is properly known as cannabis.
According to the job posting, the new program administrator will be responsible for developing the program's vision and staffing plan, managing its budget, and communicating with the governor's office, state lawmakers, law enforcement and the media.
Annual pay for the position will fall between $73,811 and $105,862. The application deadline is June 20.
Experts have described Minnesota's fledgling program as unique among 21 other medical marijuana programs around the country. Minnesota will be the only state to prohibit patients from possessing plants and smoking marijuana.