A Portland businessman whose family created and then divested itself of the largest beverage distributor in the state is Gov. Kate Brown’s nominee to fill a seat on the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
Matthew Maletis, 38, is also a financier in the marijuana business, the first with direct ties to legal cannabis to be considered for an OLCC seat. Maletis, whose family created Columbia Distributing and Maletis Beverage, helped finance the launch in Clackamas County of Oregon Hub in January. The enterprise was described in media accounts at the time as a project to build a cannabis research and production facility.
“I don’t want to speculate on what the commission will be addressing before my confirmation,” Maletis wrote in an email Thursday. “However, it’s important to acknowledge that we have an opportunity to grow this into a key industry for our state. I’m excited to have been recognized and nominated to be a part of that process.”
In his application for the commission seat, Maletis said his family sold its beer and wine distributorships in 2008 to focus on real estate and other ventures. He is co-owner of Langdon Farms Golf Club, just south of Portland, a property he managed from 2008 to 2012. He was also a Portland restaurateur.
He considers himself a political independent, although he identified in the past as a Republican. No more than four commissioners of the same party may serve together.
Maletis, whom Brown nominated in October, is a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association and the Oregon Cannabis Association, according to the résumé he included as part of his commission application. He also served on advisory committees formed after the passage of Measure 91 in November 2014 to create a regulatory framework for the recreational marijuana industry.
Measure 91 gave the OLCC authority to license and regulate the new industry.
Maletis does not hold a recreational marijuana license, said Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the OLCC Recreational Marijuana Program.
If approved by the state Senate this month, Maletis would take the seat being vacated by Commissioner Robert Rice, who was appointed in July 2003. In his application, Maletis wrote that he holds a retail liquor license and is applying for another from the OLCC.
The Oregon Legislature this year added two seats to the commission for a total of seven, one each from Western and Eastern Oregon. The Senate in September confirmed two new commissioners: Paul Rosenbaum, CEO of SWR Corp., maker of cleaning products for oil drilling and storage equipment and for environmental uses, and Jennifer Currin, a Pendleton attorney and partner at Corey, Byler & Rew.
Rosenbaum, now the commission chairman, was appointed to the seat for Western Oregon. The Eastern Oregon seat is vacant. Currin was appointed to represent the state’s 2nd Congressional District, which stretches from the Cascades east to the Idaho border and takes in Medford and Grants Pass in Southern Oregon.
One of the seven seats must do double duty as representative of a congressional district or Oregon region and as a representative of the food and beverage industry. There is no requirement that the commission include a recreational marijuana license holder.
Also in September, the Senate confirmed the re-appointments of commissioners Pamela Weatherspoon and Marvin Révoal.
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