Sep 21, 2023 - News

Meet the woman tasked with regulating Minnesota's new legal marijuana market

Erin DuPree. Photo courtesy of Gov. Tim Walz's office

A business owner and consultant with experience in the hemp-derived cannabis industry will lead a new agency tasked with overseeing legal marijuana in Minnesota.

Driving the news: Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday named Erin DuPree as the state's first director of the Office of Cannabis Management. She starts Oct. 2.

Why it matters: The director will play a key role in establishing and regulating the state's legal marijuana marketplace.

Catch up fast: While growing and possessing marijuana for personal use has been legal since Aug. 1, state officials will spend the next year-plus preparing for commercial sales.

  • That work will include everything from developing the licensing systems for cultivators and businesses to finalizing rules related to product testing, labeling and packaging.

Zoom in: DuPree is the founder, vice president of sales and operations and head of research and development at the Apple Valley-based Loonacy Cannabis Co.

  • While she has not worked in government — which is something the job posting emphasized as sought-after experience — her resume includes work advising businesses and start-ups on strategy and growth.

What she's saying: DuPree told reporters Thursday that her consulting and contract work related to cannabis has made her familiar with the bureaucracy and regulation needed in other states.

  • She said her experience launching cannabis-related businesses and understanding of the industry will translate to the new role, which she likened to running a "giant start-up."

Of note: DuPree said she is in the process of selling her own businesses to eliminate any conflict of interest in her new role.

What we're watching: The Legislature will likely make additional tweaks to the law, which passed this spring, during next year's session.

  • Supporters expect dispensaries that aren't located on tribal lands to open their doors by January 2025.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from DuPree.


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