Minnesota still searching for new director of cannabis management

Minnesota still searching for new director of cannabis management

Minnesota still searching for new director of cannabis management

In September, Gov. Tim Walz appointed Erin DuPree as director of the newly created Office of Cannabis Management following the Legislature’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana. DuPree resigned one day later after it was reported her hemp company had sold illegal products.

With Minnesota lawmakers set to convene another legislative session in February, that permanent director’s job has not yet been filled.

Sen. Mark Koran, R-North Branch, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS hundreds of people are expected to start applying next year for licenses to grow and sell recreational marijuana, and without a director in place, he said, it will be a challenge for lawmakers to approve the rules, regulations and policies that will govern how the new recreational cannabis program will work.

“I think it’s extremely critical to make sure we have someone in charge,” Koran said. “Those are the rules that people will live by, which ultimately become the law. That can be pursuaded or guided by the administrative state, and even more so when you don’t have a leader or anybody at the top that’s held accountable.”

Patrick McClellan is a patient in the state’s medical cannabis program and a former member of the Medical Cannabis Task Force. He told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there are only two manufacturers licensed to produce and sell medical marijuana, but under the new Office of Cannabis Management, there are likely to be hundreds of people applying for a license to sell medicinal cannabis as well.

RELATED: Minnesota’s medical cannabis director resigns after nearly 5 years

Without a director of the program, McClellan said, Minnesota must make it a priority to appoint one.

“I believe that Sen. Koran is correct. We are behind at this point,” McClellan said. “Patient population is going to be growing very rapidly — it is growing rapidly already. Those licenses need to come out ASAP.”

Without rules and regulations in place, Koran said there is not yet a date certain for starting the application process in 2024.