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Oregon hires director of marijuana programs

MILWAUKIE — An Oregon official who oversaw the rollout of medical marijuana dispensaries will now lead preparations to regulate recreational marijuana.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission announced Tuesday that Tom Burns will be the director of marijuana programs.

The voter-approved marijuana initiative requires the OLCC to come up with regulations for growing, testing and distributing marijuana. Sales are likely to begin early in 2016.

Burns is currently the director of pharmaceutical purchasing for the Oregon Health Authority. In that job, he was in charge of developing regulations for stores that distribute medical marijuana.

Burns was previously the chief executive officer of the California State Senate and vice president for state government affairs for GlaxoSmith.

— Associated Press