Cannabis Management Director resigns following allegations of illegal product sales

One day after Governor Tim Walz appointed Erin DuPree to head the Office of Cannabis Management, DuPree has sent a letter of resignation following allegations that she sold illegal products in the state through her Apple Valley-based company Loonacy Cannabis Co.

"This evening I sent a letter to the Governor that I will not be going forward as the Director of the Office of Cannabis Management," DuPree said in a statement sent to media outlets Friday. "This is an industry I am passionate about, and care deeply for; my skills, experience and expertise made me the right person for this job at this moment. I have never knowingly sold any noncompliant product, and when I became aware of them I 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 is an entrepreneur, small business owner and consultant who focused on helping new start-ups as the founder, vice president of sales and operations, and head of research and development at Loonacy Cannabis Co.

However, social media videos on TikTok, and products listed for sale on the Loonacy Cannabis Co. website that have since been deleted, showed DuPree touting products in violation of state law, prior to legalization, through her company.

On Thursday, Gov. Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan announced DuPree had been appointed, and would begin the role starting Oct. 2. She would have been tasked with building the new state agency, along with establishing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market in Minnesota.

"With direct experience in Minnesota’s hemp and cannabis industry and over 20 years of success in launching, managing, and growing businesses and organizations, Erin DuPree is an outstanding choice to lead the Office of Cannabis Management," said Gov. Walz at the time. "DuPree is a proven and effective leader, who will be successful in standing up Minnesota’s new adult-use cannabis market and helping Minnesotans succeed in the industry."  

Minnesota became the 23rd state to legalize adult-use cannabis earlier this year. The law established Office of Cannabis Management to regulate cannabis, including for the adult-use market, the Medical Cannabis Program, and lower-potency hemp edibles.

Speaking with FOX 9 on Thursday, DuPree said about the position, "We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. We’re lucky as the 23rd state to legalize, we can look back on the other 22 states and see what’s been good and what’s not been good and use that to help make policy here."

This is a developing story. Check back for details.