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Erin DuPree says she will not serve as director of the Office of Cannabis Management

Minnesota resumes hunt for first director of Office of Cannabis Management
Minnesota resumes hunt for first director of Office of Cannabis Management 02:01

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Just one day after she was named the state's first director of the Office of Cannabis Management, Erin DuPree announced she will not be going forward with the job.

The announcement comes after allegations that DuPree sold illegal products at her Apple Valley store, Loonacy Cannabis Co.

"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," DuPree said. "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."

Erin DuPree Office of Gov. Tim Walz

DuPree was set to start her new position on Oct. 2.

Gov. Tim Walz told WCCO that Charlene Briner will lead the office while they search for a new director.

"We have a responsibility to assure Minnesotans that this emerging market will be safe, lawful, and well-regulated," Walz said. "We're making progress toward implementing this work, including beginning the hiring process for 9 key leadership positions and we will launch the rulemaking process in October."

Marcus Harcus is a longtime cannabis legalization advocate and says he was surprised when Walz announced DuPree as the first director of the office of cannabis management.

"Well, compared to the other finalists, who has a much more extensive education background in terms of cannabis and much more industry experience and connections with the native tribes and the U of M, I just didn't understand it didn't seem like a fair selection process, and that they didn't really vet her well enough," Harcus said.

Harcus says while the situation isn't ideal, the leadership shakeup could be a good thing in the long run.

"Whoever leads this office will set the tone. They'll create the organizational culture of this agency that will regulate the industry, so we can't get it wrong. We have to get the best candidate possible," Harcus said.

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