Oregon’s Top Liquor & Cannabis Regulator Steps Down

The head of Oregon’s cannabis and alcohol regulatory agency is stepping down per the governor’s request after nearly 10 years in the position.

Full story after the jump.

The longtime head of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) Steve Marks is out after a nearly 10-year stint in the position, Willamette Week reports. Gov. Tina Kotek (D) had asked for and received his resignation, and Marks informed OLCC staff of his departure on Wednesday.

“The governor has indicated that she’d like to select a new executive director. And a transition plan is currently being worked on. Further details will follow.” — OLCC communications director Mark Pettinger, via Willamette Week

During his tenure, Marks oversaw the launch of the Oregon adult-use cannabis industry, set up the state’s initial cannabis licensing and regulation processes, and generated record amounts of alcohol-related revenue for the state. He has also been praised by business owners from the industries he regulated for displaying flexibility during the coronavirus pandemic, easing the burden for struggling businesses by loosening takeout cocktail regulations and expanding options for delivery and curbside pickup, the report said.

Marks’ departure comes at the end of a wave of changes under Gov. Tina Kotek, who was elected last November and has been in office for less than a month.

The change also comes following an announcement that the top cannabis and alcohol regulator in neighboring Washington state — Rick Garza of the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) — will be stepping down to retire later this year after working 25 years at the agency.

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