The woman selected to lead the regulation of cannabis in Minnesota announced Friday that she will step down after allegations arose that she sold illegal products at her cannabis store.
The decision comes just one after Gov. Tim Walz (D) appointed Erin DuPree as Minnesota’s first director of the Office of Cannabis Management.
Reports allege that DuPree’s cannabis store, Loonacy, sold products with higher concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than legally allowed, as well as products with ingredients restricted by state law.
“I have never knowingly sold any noncompliant product, and when I became aware of them I removed the products from inventory,” DuPree said in a statement to CBS Minnesota.
“Conducting lawful business has been an objective of my business career,” she continued. “However, it has become clear that I have become a distraction that would stand in the way of the important work that needs to be done.”
Walz lauded DuPree’s history as a small business owner and entrepreneur in his announcement of her appointment on Thursday.
“With direct experience in Minnesota’s hemp and cannabis industry and over 20 years of success in launching, managing, and growing businesses and organizations, Erin DuPree is an outstanding choice to lead the Office of Cannabis Management,” Walz said. “DuPree is a proven and effective leader, who will be successful in standing up Minnesota’s new adult-use cannabis market and helping Minnesotans succeed in the industry.”
Senior state government aide Charlene Briner, who led the hiring process, remarked on DuPree’s “experience, credibility, and passion” in the same announcement.
Walz moved past DuPree’s resignation and focused on fostering an industry with community trust in his response to the news late Friday.
“We have a responsibility to assure Minnesotans that this emerging market will be safe, lawful, and well-regulated,” Walz said in a statement to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We’re making progress toward implementing this work.”
The new agency now still lacks a permanent director. The state’s first non-reservation cannabis shops are scheduled to open in 2025.