Liquor Control Board (LCB) member and former State Senator Chris Marr will leave the liquor and cannabis regulatory panel in January, the former Spokane Auto Dealer has announced. In a prepared statement to Governor Inslee, fellow board members and Board Executive Director Rick Garza, Marr thanked them all for their hard work over the last two years during which Washington undertook the implementation of citizen supported I-502, the legalization of recreational use of cannabis.
Marr said he will pursue a career in lobbying. He leaves the Board at probably its second most important juncture, the real possibility of legislative action to mend the medical marijuana (MMJ) law and blend it with the state’s new recreational use law.
In addition to Marr’s leaving, LCB chair Sharon Foster’s term on the Board is up in Janaury and rumors are she will not ask for reappointment. This would leave the Board with an institutional knowledge shortage and one remaining member Ruthann Kurose, who lived through the implementation of the recreational use law, I-502. Foster was in a meeting at the LCB at the time of this post and could not respond to questions.
Those involved in cannabis policy in Washington mention former State Representative Lynn Kessler and former State Senator Tracey Eide as possible candidates for either or both slots.
Marr’s statement below:
First, let me say that it has been a privilege to serve the past four years as a Member of the Liquor Control Board. Not only to have we shared the challenge of implementing both Initiatives 1183 and Initiative 502; we have witnessed the management team and line employees of this agency dig deep to make the will of the voters a reality. This, despite the massive layoffs caused by I-1183 which eliminated the jobs of many of our close colleagues, and the daunting workload presented by the roll-out of I-502. This agency has performed in an exemplary way, and shown a resilience which I have never witnessed in my thirty year career in the private and public sectors.
That said, I am announcing with more than a little regret that I will be leaving the Liquor Control Board in January to pursue a full-time lobbying and government affairs practice here in Olympia. Though I will still be allowed to indulge my love of public policy (which has resulted in my creating far too much work for all of you over the years, for which I apologize), I will greatly miss the people here and the important work we do. I have spoken with the Governor’s Office, and know they are working as we speak to recruit qualified candidates for Chair Foster and my positions. I know with Board Member Kurose’s institutional memory, Director Rick Garza’s exceptional leadership skills and the fantastic team I am leaving behind, the work we do will be in very capable hands.
I want to especially call out the job Rick has done in building a strong, employee-powered culture at the LCB since assuming the Director job two years ago. We have spoken at length, and I have offered my time and energy to assist in in a smooth hand-off to the new Board members.
Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to thank each of you personally for your efforts and support over the next few weeks.
Your support matters.
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