Tom Burns fired as OLCC’s marijuana advisor for leaking document, lying, agency says

Tom Burns fired as OLCC’s marijuana advisor for leaking document, lying, agency says


Tom Burns named head of marijuana programs for Oregon

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission said Friday it fired Tom Burns, former director of marijuana programs, for sharing an internal policy document with a Portland lawyer and then lying to his boss about it. Kristyna Wentz-Graff/The Oregonian (Kristyna Wentz-Graff/The Oregonian/OregonLive)

Tom Burns, former marijuana policy adviser for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, was abruptly fired Thursday for sharing an internal policy document with a Portland lawyer and lying about it, agency spokesman Tom Towslee said Friday.

Towslee said Burns shared a document with Amy Margolis that agency staff and marijuana industry representatives had worked on. Towslee emphasized that Margolis, who represents marijuana growers, “did nothing wrong.”

“She was the unwitting recipient of a confidential document,” he said. “Not knowing it was confidential, she did what anybody else would have done, which is share it with other people.”

“She has no culpability here,” he said.

Towslee said Burns emailed the document to Margolis earlier this week. Burns was called into a meeting Thursday with agency executive director Steven Marks and asked about its release.

Burns denied having sent it to Margolis.

“We have the emails that he sent, that he said he didn’t send,” said Towslee.

Asked which was the firing offense — sharing the policy document or lying about it – Towslee said, “Clearly the lack of veracity was a very significant factor.”

— Noelle Crombie


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