UPDATE (Sept. 22, 2023): Erin DuPree announced she will not go forward with the job.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesotans now know who will lead the agency overseeing the state's nascent legal marijuana market.
On Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz's office announced Erin DuPree will be the state's first director of the Office of Cannabis Management.
Walz said DuPree has "direct experience in Minnesota's hemp and cannabis industry and over 20 years of success in launching, managing, and growing businesses and organizations."
The OCM will be responsible for regulating cannabis, issuing licenses and developing regulations for businesses participating in the industry.
DuPree is currently the founder, vice president of sales and operations and head of research and development at Loonacy Cannabis Co. in Apple Valley. She also founded a business consulting company. She's in the process of selling the companies before she starts her job with the state.
"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," Walz said.
DuPree says the first thing she'll do is to find the right people - about 150 of them - to help run the office effectively. She says her business experience will translate into her new role, but declined to give specifics, saying that she hasn't started the job yet.
"We don't have to reinvent the wheel here," she said. "You know, we're lucky as the 23rd state to legalize, we can look back on the other 22 states, look and see what's been good and what's not been good."
DuPree will start her new position Oct. 2.
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.
The Office of Cannabis Management will also regulate medical cannabis as well as lower-potency hemp edibles.
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