Utah is hiring a ‘cannabis czar’ to deal with all things pot

SALT LAKE CITY — The state of Utah is now advertising for someone to oversee all things marijuana.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food posted the job opening for a “Cannabis Program Manager” to handle the newly created medical cannabis program, as well as the state’s industrialized hemp and CBD oil regulations.

“As the Cannabis Program Manager, you will: Be the state expert on medical cannabis and industrial hemp production, processing, and distribution; Lay the foundation of and develop the state industrial hemp and medical cannabis programs; Provide leadership and serve as a subject matter-expert on cannabis issues,” the job posting states.

The job gives preference to people with experience in agriculture, pharmaceuticals or natural resources. Candidates also have to pass a criminal background check.

The full-time job based in Salt Lake County pays $25.92 – $42.24 an hour, with state benefits.

The position has been created as the Utah State Legislature has implemented a series of medical cannabis and industrial hemp bills. Earlier this year, the state allowed terminally ill patients a “right to try” medical cannabis and ordered the Utah Dept. of Agriculture and Food to grow it for them. They also began allowing industrialized hemp to be grown in licensed conditions and legalized CBD oil (with regulations).

Most recently, the Utah State Legislature replaced voter-approved Proposition 2 with its own medical cannabis bill, crafted as a result of negotiations between initiative sponsors and opponents. That bill is the subject of a pair of lawsuits.

It’s not the first time the state has created a point-person to oversee policy issues. The Utah Attorney General’s Office for a time had specialized staffers to oversee pornography issues as well as crimes within polygamous communities (both of whom were nicknamed “czars”).