Firing of Oregon’s MJ Program Head Won’t Delay Rec Rollout

Tom Burns, director of marijuana programs in Oregon, was removed from his post Thursday.

According to Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the state’s time frame for drafting rules concerning its recreational marijuana program will not be delayed as a result.

Burns did not give a reason for his dismissal, according to The Oregonian. Burns oversaw implementation of the state’s dispensary program and has been working on Oregon’s recreational program, which was approved by voters in November.

Burns oversaw Oregon’s dispensary program and in December was named director of marijuana programs to help the state work to craft regulations governing its recreational marijuana rollout. Rules must be in place by late this year and the state must begin accepting applications from cannabis businesses in January, according to The Oregonian.

Sen. Ginny Burdick of Portland told the newspaper that she was upset over Burns’ firing because of the amount of knowledge he brought to the position and that his dismissal will be a “real loss to the legislative effort.” Burns was outspoken on policy and may have had a personality conflict with liquor control commission chairman Rob Patridge, the newspaper said.

Both marijuana advocates and the legal counsel for the Association of Oregon Counties were dismayed by Burns’ dismissal. Will Higlin, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s licensing director, will take over the job until a replacement is found.