In a surprising development, Erin DuPree, who had recently been appointed as the head of Minnesota’s Office of Cannabis Management, has resigned from her position. This decision came in response to allegations suggesting her involvement in the sale of illegal cannabis products through her own company, Loonacy Cannabis Co. The controversy escalated when it was revealed that some of the products she had promoted, such as Californian Goliath vape pens, contained cannabinoids that were illegal in Minnesota, as indicated by lab reports. DuPree argued that these products had been legal when she endorsed them in February 2023. Governor Tim Walz, a Democrat, had appointed DuPree as the director of the Office of Cannabis Management just a day prior to her resignation.
In a letter sent to local media outlets, DuPree expressed her passion for the cannabis industry and her dedication to conducting legal business operations. She asserted that her skills and experience made her well-suited for the role and claimed that she had never knowingly sold any noncompliant products. However, she acknowledged that her presence had become a distraction from the essential work required. The Office of Cannabis Management is responsible for regulating and establishing the cannabis market in Minnesota. Governor Walz had initially praised DuPree’s qualifications, highlighting her extensive experience in the state’s hemp and cannabis industry as well as her successful track record in business management.
DuPree’s resignation led to the appointment of Charlene Briner as the interim director of the cannabis office. Governor Walz took full responsibility for the appointment process, acknowledging that it had not unfolded as planned. The resignation of Minnesota’s first cannabis regulator raises questions about the oversight and compliance of the state’s cannabis industry.