Walz’s new cannabis director resigns after one day 

On Thursday, Walz praised Erin DuPree as a “proven and effective leader” who was an “outstanding choice” to lead the office.

On Thursday, Walz praised Erin DuPree as a “proven and effective leader” who was an “outstanding choice” to lead the office.

Gov. Tim Walz’s appointee to lead the new Office of Cannabis Management announced her resignation Friday night one day after being named to the role. She technically wasn’t scheduled to begin serving in the role until Oct. 2.

On Thursday, Walz praised Erin DuPree as a “proven and effective leader” who was an “outstanding choice” to lead the office, which will regulate and oversee the new industry after cannabis was legalized Aug. 1.

Alpha News published a story earlier Friday highlighting some of the apparent inconsistencies between DuPree’s work experience and the requirements laid out in a job description for the cannabis director. The Star Tribune then published a story detailing DuPree’s sale of illegal products at a hemp shop she owns in Apple Valley.

Additionally, filings with the state over the course of the last decade show DuPree had outstanding debts related to federal tax liens amounting in tens of thousands of dollars. Some of those debts had been paid back earlier this year.

According to divorce records from 2021, DuPree then went by the name Erin Wambach-Holgate. She told the judge in a filing that she was employed as an independent contractor for Empire Today and made a monthly income of $3,700. That wasn’t listed in her LinkedIn resume and didn’t line up with the work she and Gov. Walz said she’s been doing as a consultant the last half decade.

On a related note, in 2021, she was in a small claims court dispute with a White Bear Lake resident who said DuPree received more than $2,500 to conduct a home floor replacement estimate as an independent contractor. “Ms. Wambach hasn’t provided receipts, products, or services,” the resident wrote in a court document. A district court judge later wrote an order demanding DuPree pay that sum to her customer.

She also got into a dispute over finances related to her one-time ownership of a wellness studio in Woodbury that was resolved in court in 2013.

“This evening I sent a letter to the Governor that I will not be going forward as the Director of the Office of Cannabis Management. 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,” DuPree said in a statement released to the media Friday night.

“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.”

Gov. Walz said Charlene Briner will continue to lead the office on an interim basis.


Anthony Gockowski

Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.

Hank Long

Hank Long is a journalism and communications professional whose writing career includes coverage of the Minnesota legislature, city and county governments and the commercial real estate industry. Hank received his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, where he studied journalism, and his law degree at the University of St. Thomas. The Minnesota native lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and four children. His dream is to be around when the Vikings win the Super Bowl.