OLCC Names Tom Burns Oregon's Weed Czar

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission announced this morning that Tom Burns will move from the Oregon Health Authority, where he was director of pharmacy programs and ran the state's medical marijuana dispensary program, to the OLCC to oversee the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Before going to work for the state of Oregon Burns previously served as a top administrator in the California state Senate and was a lobbyist for GlaxoSmithKline, a large pharmaceutical company.

The OLCC, which has been the state's liquor distributor and regulator since Prohibition ended is now in the position of putting into practice Measure 91, the marijuana legalization measure voters passed in November.

"Tom has navigated these waters before on the medical side," OLCC Executive Director Steven Marks said in a statement. "In line with [OLCC] Chairman Rob Patridge's direction, Tom will lead the implementation of Oregon's recreational marijuana law with a measured approach that protects children, promotes safety, and brings the marijuana industry into the regulated market."