By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection
As we reported last week, Rob Patridge has made it official and resigned as Chairman of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. His last day will be Friday, March 10th. An announcement was made late Monday afternoon, March 6th, 2017. He was appointed to the OLCC in October, 2012 and later appointed Chair of the Commission in July, 2013.
“The opportunity to serve on, and lead, the Commission during this dynamic time at the agency has been a highlight of my public service career,” Patridge explained in the press release. “Because the OLCC has an extremely capable and professional staff we’ve been able to effectively and efficiently make changes that reflect the rapidly changing alcohol and cannabis markets.”
Patridge was integral in adopting the new rules for cannabis for Oregon’s recreational market. His efforts began with a tour of the state that involved public town hall meetings and evolved into numerous Rules Advisory Committees to help determine the needed rules. The OLCC letter explained:
After the November 2014 passage of Measure 91, which gave the OLCC responsibility for regulation of legalized recreational marijuana in Oregon, Patridge sharpened the OLCC’s focus to create a roundly supported system. Patridge led statewide “town hall” public meetings and other stakeholder engagement to formulate the framework for rulemaking to regulate the recreational marijuana industry. At the time, Oregon was the third state to approve legal cannabis consumption for adults.
“There was a lot skepticism about how the OLCC was going to regulate cannabis,” said Anthony Johnson, Executive Director, New Approach Oregon and co-author of Measure 91. “But Rob was always reasonable, and provided clear reasoning and a basis for his decisions. There was never a surprise about his point of view or whether or not he would be fair.”
Patridge used his knowledge as a district attorney and former legislator to guide creation of a citizen rulemaking advisory committee that included members of the cannabis industry, public health and safety interests, and community organizations. Along with the OLCC’s executive leadership, Patridge worked with Oregon legislators during the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions to translate Measure 91 into workable laws that served the cannabis industry’s development.
Patridge also resigned his position as the Klamath County District Attorney and it is also effective Friday. He has been offered a position with a private firm, possibly located in California, doing public sector consulting work—something he is imminently qualified to do.
The hunt is on for a new chairman, and the governor must appoint that individual from the 2nd Congressional District which comprises all of Central and Eastern Oregon and part of the Rogue Valley region. Rumor has it former Southern Oregon representative Peter Buckley turned down an offer to lead the agency.
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