Help wanted: GR looks for cannabis manager

Marijuana in MI

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The City of Grand Rapids is putting out the help wanted sign.

The recent job listing says a background in public administration at the local government level a must. Some knowledge of the marijuana industry wouldn’t hurt either for the job of cannabis manager.

“There’s a whole body of work that is created as a result of the ordinances and policies,” said City Planning Director Kristin Turkelson. “We really need somebody to make sure that we’re running that properly and following up on the commitments that are made by the industry.”

After several starts and stops, Grand Rapids city commissioners adopted zoning amendments that cleared the way for recreational marijuana licenses in July.

A planner had been assigned similar tasks when the city originally decided to allow for recreational marijuana.

But when that planner left the city, the decision was made to create a new position with a planner whose only job will be marijuana business development.

“I mean it is a brand-new program… and so making sure that they have strong project management skills. Strong communications skills to work with the industry and work with the community,” Turkelson said.

According to the Michigan Municipal League, which represents cities throughout the state, Grand Rapids stands alone in the effort to plan for pot business.

“We believe the city of Grand Rapids is the first in the state to have such a position,” according to the League’s Director of Communications Matt Bach.

Like other city planners, the cannabis manager, with a salary set between $76,649 and $97,749 a year, will help guide potential marijuana-related businesses through the maze of city regulations all businesses have to follow.

But unlike other planners, the cannabis manager will also deal with some of the more challenging aspects of legal pot regulations.

The biggest part of the job description is to focus on one skill set, in particular, the ability to coordinate.

“With the building department, fire department, the police department, code compliance. And also, coordination with the communities,” Turkelson said. “I don’t think that they need to have a specific skill set, or knowledge of the marijuana industry. Although that may be helpful, that’s certainly not required.”

They’ll also ensure rules set by the city commission to make sure neighborhoods that were adversely affected when recreational marijuana was illegal benefit economically now that it is legal.

“We need this position to make sure that those commitments and those agreements are being followed up on, and support the neighborhood if they’re not,” Turkelson said.

The city will accept applications for the job through the end of Sunday.

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