Cannabis director could be named soon, but work continues on legal sales

The use of cannabis products for recreational purposes has been legal since Aug. 1, but there isn’t yet a director of the Office of Cannabis Management in place. However, that doesn’t mean a lot of work hasn’t already gone into creating a system for legal sales.

 “I think it is fair to say it’s going to take us about a year and a half” for licensed sales to begin, says Charlene Briner, a consultant who’s been working since June on implementing a legalized cannabis framework in Minnesota until a director is named. “This is a comprehensive and wide-ranging bill and there is a lot of work to be done to create administrative rules.”

Your eyes might glaze over at the sound of “administrative rules,” but they are key to getting legal sales up and running.

“We’re talking about everything from product quality and dosages to pesticide regulations,” Briner said in an interview. “What can be used in growing to cultivating to manufacturing standards to product packaging and labeling. So there is a wide range of rules we have to put in place.”

As a consultant, Briner is leading an effort to find office space, create computer systems and post job openings for an agency that will eventually employ 150 people. She’s also helped lead the effort to find a director of the office.

“It is anecdotally an unprecedented level of interest to lead a state agency,” she said. “So we had exactly 150 applicants. From there we narrowed that down among the qualified pool and conducted several rounds of interviews before sending a pool of finalists to the governor.”

Briner says the governor could name a director as early as next week.

You can see the entire interview on “At Issue with Tom Hauser” Sunday morning at 10.