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Washington became one of the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2012. But there are a lot of challenges ahead: the state must set up a licensing system for marijuana growers and sellers, the federal government may mount a challenge, the need to set a new limit on amount of marijuana in the bloodstream for safe driving. And medical marijuana is still in the picture.Over the next several months we will be exploring the issue and tracking the impact of I-502.

More Than 100 Pot Consulants Seek Washington Job

Oregon's pot law allows up to four pot plants per home.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The deadline for marijuana experts seeking work has closed in Washington state. All bids to help the state set up its legal marijuana system had to be submitted by 2:oo p.m. on February 15. State officials say the response was substantial.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board is now in charge of licensing marijuana growers and sellers under Initiative 502. And the agency has been seeking experts in marijuana -- something that is still illegal under federal law. The state needs consultants who know how to grow and process marijuana, how to test its quality and how to estimate the amount of pot people will buy in Washington.

The agency received 112 proposals to do those jobs, as compared to a couple dozen the last time it issued a request for proposals. Mikhail Carpenter is a spokesman for the state board. He said next they’ll start opening all the envelopes. “And then, as soon as all of them have been evaluated, we hope to announce an apparent successful vendor.”

The state Liquor Control Board expects to award the contract in March. Carpenter said the agency would prefer to hire just one person for the job. “Anytime you can work with one person and only have to have communications with one person, that would be great. [But] we recognize that that one consultant may not be out there,” said Carpenter.

So the work may be given to four different people, or one firm with a series of subcontractors. The public interest in new marijuana rules has been robust. Hundreds of people have packed the agency’s ongoing hearings around the state.

Year started with KUOW: 2005