Oregon Sec. of State who was caught moonlighting as pot consultant resigns

After being caught moonlighting as a marijuana consultant, including work opening dispensaries in New Mexico, Democrat Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan is resigning, effective May 8.

She had come under fire for taking the lucrative $10,000 per month contract with Veriede Holdings, which was being overseen by the state’s marijuana program. 

According to the report, “For that work, the secretary was paid $10,000 a month beginning on Feb. 20. She was eligible to receive a $30,000 bonus if La Mota secured licenses in any state besides Oregon and New Mexico.” 

“It was not immediately clear on Monday why New Mexico was singled out in the contract, but it may be because the company was already making inroads there. La Mota CEO Rosa Cazares met with New Mexico’s Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales several times. ‘They were here asking questions about doing business in New Mexico, asking about the cannabis industry, the recent changes to our laws,’ said Jim Farrell, a spokesman for the lieutenant governor. Farrell said Cazares did not ask for specific help, but she did contribute to Morales’ campaign fund,” a report noted. 

In the summer of 2022, La Mota purchased a small bakery in Deming to convert to a dispensary, as well as two other properties in the state. However, Deming rejected the proposal due to its close vicinity to a nearby daycare.

Fagan claimed to have spent 15 hours per week working on the New Mexico contract, describing it as tedious research. 

“Fagan was twice asked whether she would release her tax returns to shed further light on her financial situation. She said she would not release those tax documents. Monday’s press conference concluded as a journalist asked the question again,” one report concluded

“While I am confident that the ethics investigation will show that I followed the state’s legal and ethical guidelines in trying to make ends meet for my family, it is clear that my actions have become a distraction from the important and critical work of the Secretary of State’s office,” Fagan said in a statement. “Protecting our state’s democracy and ensuring faith in our elected leaders — these are the reasons I ran for this office. They are also the reasons I will be submitting my resignation today.” 

Democrat Gov. Tina Kotek will choose Fagan’s replacement.


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