Minnesota’s brand-new chief marijuana regulator resigns amid allegations

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Erin Dupree, who was appointed the first director of Minnesota’s Office of Cannabis Management only last week, has resigned before even starting her role after a local media report that raised questions about her background, including an allegation that her business previously sold prohibited hemp-derived products.

DuPree’s appointment by Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday was set to take effect Oct. 2.

However, according to an MPR News-APM Reports investigation on Friday, DuPree “ran a business that sold products that exceeded state limits on THC potency, owed money to former associates and accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in tax liens.”

DuPree then stepped down, one day after her appointment.

According to MPR News-APM Reports, DuPree’s business, Loonacy Cannabis Co., “advertised products with a THC content far above what was legally allowed starting in July of 2022.”

“It also advertised vape products containing THC, which were prohibited under the law,” the investigation determined.

The report cited other “irregularities in DuPree’s past,” including “court judgments against her for unpaid wages or for work she failed to perform” as well as liens for unpaid taxes.

DuPree said in a statement that she had “never knowingly sold any noncompliant product, and when I became aware of them I removed the products from inventory.”

However, DuPree said she had “become a distraction that would stand in the way of the important work that needs to be done.”

Charlene Briner will remain in her role as interim director, the governor said in a statement quoted by MPR News-APM Reports.

“We have a responsibility to assure Minnesotans that this emerging market will be safe, lawful and well-regulated,” Walz said in his statement.

“We’re making progress toward implementing this work, including beginning the hiring process for nine key leadership positions and we will launch the rulemaking process in October.”