In August, Minnesota became the 23rd state to legalize marijuana for “recreational purposes.” But what’s a drug without a regulator? Seeing a need and addressing it, Gov. Tim Walz named Erin DuPree as the state’s first head of the Office of Cannabis Management on Thursday.
On Friday she was forced to step down when it was discovered that she was selling cannabis edibles with a THC content that exceeded the state’s limit.
Loonacy Cannabis Co. — the business Dupree founded in Apple Valley, Minn., last year — also accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in tax liens and owed money to former associates.
“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 stated.
“One of the responsibilities, and I take it and the buck stops with me, is the appointments of literally thousands of people,” Gov. Tim Walz said Saturday, the Star Tribune reported. “In this case, the process did not work and we got this wrong.”
The “process”? The THC content was listed on the company’s website in plain view. And any 10-year-old with $25 bucks could have gotten the info on the liens.
Not much of a vetting operation you got there, eh, Tim?
In keeping with modern politics, DuPree blamed the media for the debacle.
Privately, DuPree fumed on her personal Facebook page about the Star Tribune’s coverage and an MPR story that dug into her troubled financial history.
“If you want to be an agent of change, watch out — you will be criticized for being human,” she wrote. “I wasn’t the hero in everyone’s story.”
You weren’t a hero, period. You’re a dishonest, incompetent chiseler who double-crossed your patron, Gov. Walz. He expected an honest businessperson and got a weed fanatic.
DuPree had no government experience, and her résumé did not seem to match many of the expected qualifications sought for the role. The administration was blindsided by reports of her federal liens, illegal product sales and past lawsuits filed against her.
Walz said Saturday the episode was “not the finest hour.”
“You’re also picking someone who’s going to not only run an agency, but they’re a regulator,” he said. “And people certainly expect that you follow the rules when you’re going to do that.”
In addition being unqualified, DuPree is a liar as well.
In Minnesota, the rules have been widely reported since the state first regulated THC last year. To sell hemp-derived THC, it has to be in food or drink in small doses. Vapes and buds were limited to containing 0.3% of any THC starting in July 2022 and then outright banned this summer.
“Some of the vape cartridges DuPree sold at her Apple Valley hemp store, Loonacy Cannabis, were noncompliant the entire time her store was open, including one featured in a TikTok video,” says the Strib.
“When this was made, they were legal,” DuPree wrote on Facebook about the video. They were not, reports the Star-Tribune.
Michele Glinn, the chief science officer at Michigan’s leading cannabis testing firm, said you need a regulator with technical expertise. “You need people who have a scientific background, as well as a legal and regulatory background,” she said.
Dupree was only an “expert” at getting high and pushing drugs on the public. That might have qualified her for an activist role but not as a regulator of a drug.