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Director of Minnesota's Office of Medical Cannabis resigns after 5 years

Medical cannabis director stepping down
Medical cannabis director stepping down 00:23

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The director of Minnesota's Office of Medical Cannabis is stepping down after five years, the Minnesota Department of Health announced Monday.

Chris Tholkes is taking a job with the City of Minneapolis. Her last day with the office is Friday.

"I'm grateful for the many opportunities and experiences I've had during my 14 years with MDH," Tholkes said. "I'm incredibly proud of our work and will be cheering folks on for the upcoming implementation work."

The news comes as the governor's office searches for a director of its new Office of Cannabis Management. Currently, the oversight of hemp-derived edibles in under the purview of the Office of Medical Cannabis.

RELATED: Director controversy, legal challenge make for rocky start for Minnesota's Office of Cannabis Management

The office will be responsible for regulating cannabis, issuing licenses and developing regulations for businesses participating in the industry. It will also regulate medical cannabis as well as lower-potency hemp edibles.

The state appointed Erin DuPree to be the director of the Office of Cannabis Management in September, but she quickly resigned after allegations that she sold illegal products at her Apple Valley store, Loonacy Cannabis Co.

Minnesota became the 23rd state to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults in May, but state leaders have said residents likely won't see a recreational marijuana dispensary in their communities until early 2025. 

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