Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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January 30, 2013

Green thumb? Wash. state looks for pot consultant

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, dried, tested, labeled, packaged and cooked into brownies.

Those angling for the job were expected to learn more Wednesday in Tacoma. The state Liquor Control Board, the agency charged with developing rules for the marijuana industry, reserved a convention center hall with a capacity of 275 people — plus an overflow room — for its bidding experts to take questions about the position and the hiring process.

"The Liquor Control Board has a long and a very good history with licensing and regulation. We know it and know how to do it well," said spokesman Mikhail Carpenter. "But there are some technical aspects with marijuana we could use a consultant to help us with."

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 where adults over 21 can walk in and buy up to an ounce of heavily taxed cannabis. Sales are due to begin in Washington state in December.

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.

Washington's Liquor Control 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."

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