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California Looking For Someone To Oversee Medical Marijuana Industry

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The state is hiring for a medical marijuana chief as part of a new law that's attracting skepticism from the medical marijuana industry.

The state has hundreds of agencies regulating everything from food and agriculture to alcohol and drug programs, but for the first time in its nearly 20-year industry, the state's medical marijuana industry will have a pot chief.

Kimberly Cargile runs Therapeutic Alternative, one of a handful of medical marijuana dispensaries in Midtown Sacramento. She, along with hundreds of dispensary directors statewide, will soon answer to the soon-to-be chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana.

"It's putting a lot of power the hands of one person and so it does make everyone a little bit nervous, hoping that the person in charge is compassionate and sees marijuana as a medicine," she said.

The job description does not require a marijuana background.

Russ Heimerich of the state's Department of Consumer Affairs is accepting applications, saying the marijuana chief will primarily need experience as a bureaucrat.

"It's essentially a licensing and enforcement agency," he said. "We're going to want someone with experience in the regulatory regime because one of the first thing they're going to have to do after establishing the bureau is write regulations to make the laws effective."

That person will start the agency from the ground up, labeling all products, licensing every grow and dispensary in the state and weeding out those who don't comply.

"I think that there's a long list of qualifications in order for someone to get a license and we probably won't see most of our providers obtaining those licenses," Cargile said.

The governor will have to approve the position, and the state will hire by January 2016. The chief will have a year to get it all in place before the law goes into effect.

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