Minnesota’s head of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) stepped down on Friday – one day after she was appointed – following a report that her hemp business sold products that exceeded allowable THC levels, owned money to former associates, and had tens of thousands of dollars in tax liens, according to MPR News.
Erin DuPree, founder, vice president of sales and operations, and head of research and development of Loonacy Cannabis Co. was appointed by Gov. Tim Walz (D) on Thursday, but a subsequent investigation by MPR News-APM Reports uncovered that Loonacy had advertised products with THC content higher than what was legally allowed starting in July 2022 and had advertised vape products containing THC, which, at the time, were prohibited under the law.
In a statement announcing her resignation, DuPree pushed back on those claims, saying her company has “never knowingly sold any noncompliant product,” and that when she “became aware of them” she “removed the products from inventory.”
“Conducting lawful business has been an objective of my business career. 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.” — DuPree, in a statement, via MPR
In an interview with MinnPost following DuPree’s resignation, Walz admitted officials “got this wrong.”
“Not the finest hour,” Walz told MinnPost. “In this case, the process did not work.”
Walz added that DuPree was chosen because he wanted someone who understood Minnesota’s cannabis industry but that citizens expect regulators will “follow the rules.”
“I own this one,” Walz said, “we’ll get the right person in there.”
Charlene Briner, a senior Department of Agriculture official who has been serving as the interim OCM director, will continue to lead the agency in the absence of a full-time department chief.
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