Oregon’s recreational marijuana chief resigns

The top regulator in charge of Oregon’s recreational marijuana program is stepping down, adding to a growing trend of cannabis overseers who are leaving the industry for the private sector.

Rob Patridge said in a news release Tuesday he is resigning as chair of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to take a position at an unidentified consulting firm.

His resignation, effective Friday, follows the retirement of the state’s lab testing chief in December.

Patridge has guided the OLCC since July 2013, and he was instrumental in designing the state’s recreational regulatory framework. He was first appointed to the OLCC in 2012.

Patridge’s departure also comes on the heels of the introduction of two bills in the Oregon Legislature in February that would put the state’s rec and medical marijuana programs under the purview of one regulator. The Oregon Health Authority currently oversees the MMJ program.

After Oregon voters passed Measure 91 – which legalized recreational cannabis in 2014 and gave the OLCC responsibility for regulating the industry – Patridge led statewide town hall meetings and other stakeholder engagement to formulate the framework for rulemaking to regulate the rec industry.