Controversy Over Minnesota MMJ Company’s New Hire

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A Minnesota health department official who played a key role in the state’s medical marijuana licensing process will take the reins of one of the companies that received a permit, leading to concerns over whether the move is ethical.

Manny Munson-Regala (pictured), an assistant commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Health, was named chief executive officer of Leafline Labs, according to the Associated Press. As an assistant commissioner, he had a hand in Leafline’s selection as one of only two companies licensed to grow and sell cannabis in Minnesota.

Munson-Regala reviewed presentations and visited sites owned by the 12 applicants for the two licenses that were eventually awarded to Leafline and Minnesota Medical Solutions.

He met with Leafline executives shortly after the program became law, where the conversation focused on the law rather than business strategy, Munson-Regala told the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

His selection as CEO of Leafline has led some to question whether it’s ethical for someone in his position to take over a company he essentially helped find success. State Sen. Branden Peterson called it “incestuous” and said Munson-Regala’s appointment is troubling considering how much influence he had on Minnesota’s MMJ program, according to the AP.

Munson-Regala said he was contacted by Leafline last Wednesday, accepted the position on Tuesday and notified the state this Wednesday, the AP reported. He will start July 6.

The program’s launch, set for July 1, will not be affected by his appointment.