UNITED STATES NEWS

Minnesota’s would-be head of cannabis regulation quits amid reports she sold illegal products

Sep 23, 2023, 4:17 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The recently appointed director of Minnesota’s new marijuana regulatory agency Erin Dupree has resigned amid reports that she sold illegal cannabis products in the state.

Dupree ran a business that sold products exceeding state limits on THC potency, owed money to former associates and accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in tax liens, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Loonacy Cannabis Co. — the business Dupree founded in Apple Valley, Minnesota, last year — posted on its now-deactivated TikTok account about its edible products containing 10 milligrams of THC per serving and 150 milligrams per package, although state law only allows hemp-derived edibles to contain up to 5 milligrams of THC per serving and 50 milligrams per package, the Star Tribune reported.

“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 Friday.

“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,” she added.

Her role as the state’s first director of the Office of Cannabis Management would have begun on Oct. 2.

“One of the responsibilities, and I take it and the buck stops with me, is the appointments of literally thousands of people,” Gov. Tim Walz said Saturday, the Star Tribune reported. “In this case, the process did not work and we got this wrong.”

Walz said in a Friday statement that the interim director of the cannabis office, Charlene Briner, would remain in an interim role, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Minnesota’s legalization of recreational marijuana went into effect in August, allowing people 21 and older to legally possess and grow their own marijuana for recreational purposes, subject to limits as the state establishes a legal cannabis industry in the coming months and years.

The midwestern state is the 23rd in the country to legalize recreational marijuana. Surrounding states — including Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota — have not yet legalized it.

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Minnesota’s would-be head of cannabis regulation quits amid reports she sold illegal products