The Potluck

Marijuana entrepreneur named Minnesota pot czar

By: - September 21, 2023 1:31 pm

Erin DuPree. Courtesy photo.

Gov. Tim Walz has named Erin DuPree, a cannabis industry consultant who until recently ran an edible dispensary in Apple Valley, as the first leader of the state agency tasked with regulating the nascent marijuana industry.

“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,” Walz said in a press release announcing the appointment.

In a conference call with reporters, DuPree said that her background in business (as opposed to government) means she’s not bringing any “baggage” to the position and that she’s “ready to work with anybody.”

She added that her consulting specialty has been assisting startups in Minnesota and other states that have legalized cannabis, which she believes will translate well to the work of getting a new industry on its feet.

“Erin emerged early as a leading candidate as we considered a wide range of qualified individuals for this important new leadership role,” said Charlene Briner, who led the search for the new pot czar as the interim director of the Office of Cannabis Management.

In a post on her LinkedIn page, DuPree writes that cannabis has helped her “regulate pain, reduce inflammation, and help me get the rest my auto-immune disease was stealing.” In addition to consulting work she also recently founded and ran the Loonacy hemp products dispensary in Apple Valley.

DuPree said her first order of business would be to hire staff for the 150 new government positions the agency will require. Already the office has received 250 applications for seven key managerial positions announced last week.

She told reporters she’s confident the agency will be able to approve the first non-tribal adult use dispensaries by 2025, as the experience of other legal states means “we don’t have to reinvent the wheel here.”

Her first official day on the job will be Oct. 1.

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Christopher Ingraham
Christopher Ingraham

Christopher Ingraham covers greater Minnesota and reports on data-driven stories across the state. He's the author of the book "If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now," about his family's journey from the Baltimore suburbs to rural northwest Minnesota. He was previously a data reporter for the Washington Post.