Tom Burns, whose sudden ouster late Thursday from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission stunned lawmakers and marijuana advocates, released a statement to The Oregonian/OregonLive saying he looks “forward to the marijuana industry being a success in Oregon.”
Burns, who oversaw the implementation of the state’s regulated medical marijuana dispensary program, was fired by OLCC executive director Steven Marks.
Rob Patridge, chairman of the commission, declined to say why Burns was dismissed, calling it a personnel matter.
Sources told The Oregonian/OregonLive that Patridge and Burns had a personality conflict, an assertion Tom Towslee, spokesman for the agency, strongly disputed.
Burns, in a statement to The Oregonian/OregonLive, said the state should help “businesses thrive within the confines of law.”
“This is how I built the medical program, helping applicants be successful,” he said. “It was my hope to use this same philosophy when building the Measure 91 program.”
The OLCC is scheduled to meet Friday morning. The meeting is expected to include a briefing on a range of issues related to marijuana regulation.
Will Higlin, the agency’s director of licensing, will assume the job’s duties until a permanent replacement is named. The agency also announced that Burns’ firing will not affect the timeline for drafting rules for a regulated recreational marijuana industry.