The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission selected Turnage on Wednesday from four candidates vetted by the Goodwin Group, a search firm. The job's salary range is $90,000 to $95,000.
Patients have been allowed to use medical marijuana in Georgia since 2015, but it was only last year that the General Assembly passed a bill permitting its production and sale.
Under the law, six companies will be licensed to cultivate medical marijuana, which can have no more than 5% THC, the compound that gives marijuana users a high.
Turnage will manage the cannabis oil licensing process, the creation of a distribution network, and testing and oversight rules.