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California seeks citizens for marijuana advisory committee

File: An employee at a medical marijuana dispensary.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
File: An employee at a medical marijuana dispensary.

The state of California is looking for residents who want to help shape regulations and recommendations for medical and recreational marijuana use.

The Cannabis Advisory Committee will report to the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. It will work on developing regulations that protect public health and safety, along with a fair market for pot.

The bureau is taking applications now. Crafting regulations for an entire industry — including both medical and recreational cannabis — takes more manpower than the state's bureau currently has, bureau communications director Alex Traverso told KPCC.

"We're hopeful that we can cast a wide net and get representation from all backgrounds — growers, law enforcement, labor representatives, health experts, you name it," Traverso said.

These aren't paid positions, but if you're selected, you'll be reimbursed for travel related to cannabis committee business.

In the November election, Californians voted in favor of Proposition 64, legalizing recreational marijuana. The law eliminates criminal penalties for adult personal use of the drug and creates the opportunity for a market potentially worth billions of dollars.

Traverso and other staff members with the bureau have spent the past year conducting pre-meetings with stakeholders representing differing interests in the new marijuana economy. During the meetings, the bureau has gathered information that it will use to write the state's new regulations, Traverso said.

Committee members will primarily weigh in on the regulations, which will go into effect in 2018, said Traverso. They'll meet several times during the next year to review drafts of regulations, sharing their opinion and making sure California is on the "right path" for regulating the cannabis industry, Traverso said.

The bureau doesn’t have a set number of seats for the committee, Traverso said, adding that the number of qualified applicants will determine the committee's size.

Committee members will be appointed by the director of the Department of Consumer Affairs, Traverso said. The application window will last several weeks.