Minnesota governor appointed first cannabis chief with incomplete background information, audit says


scheduled tribe. Paul, Min. (AP) – The minnesota The woman the governor appointed to serve as director of Minnesota’s new marijuana regulatory agency surprisingly resigned after media reports the governor’s office didn’t know the details. his financial problems and other issues, According to an audit released Thursday.

The audit produced by the Legislative Auditor’s Office said the governor’s office “departed from its standard operating procedure for executive director appointments” when selecting Erin Dupree as director of the state’s Office of Cannabis Management.

The audit said three deviations from that process – all related to background checks – contributed to Democratic Governor Tim Walz appointing Dupree “without full and complete information.”

Dupree resigned a day after her appointment in September following media reports that she ran a business that sold products that exceeded state limits on THC potency, lent money to former associates and collected thousands of dollars in tax liens. Was.

The audit found that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated Dupree’s background largely without the involvement of the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, which normally engages in such investigations on behalf of the governor’s office.

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According to the audit, the Governor’s Office stated that AGED did not have the statutory authority to conduct a background study for the new Office of Cannabis Management, which is why BCA did so. The Governor’s Office also said that BCA consulted with AGED to ensure that its process was consistent with past practice, but that BCA had still never conducted a background study for the Governor’s Office before.

“As a result, it is possible that some of the assumptions the Governor’s Office made about background checks – such as the belief that the BCA was reviewing Department of Revenue information – were incorrect,” the audit said.

Other issues revolved around faulty assumptions about how BCA would proceed after receiving Dupree’s signed release forms, and how the agency conducted financial background checks that resulted in unpaid tax liens not being detected.

Mary Fee, general counsel in the Governor’s Office, said in a statement that immediately following the appointment, the Governor’s Office reviewed its processes and implemented changes including the recommendations listed in the audit. Fei said the governor’s office has also increased its capacity to research potential appointments.

The audit recommended that the Governor’s office independently confirm that background checks of people considered for “sensitive positions” included review of personal and business tax information from the Department of Revenue, and criminal history records from the departments of Public Safety and Corrections. And potentially the FBI is involved. , and outstanding court decisions.

Sensitive positions include the heads of the Office of Cannabis, the Gambling Control Board and the Minnesota Lottery.

It also recommended that the Governor wait to make appointments to sensitive positions until the office has reviewed the full background investigation report and made an independent determination of the candidate’s suitability.

The audit says it considers the case closed and will not conduct a special review.

Legalization of recreational marijuana in Minnesota Came into effect In August, people 21 and older were allowed to legally possess and grow their own marijuana for recreational purposes, subject to limitations as the state seeks to legalize cannabis use in the coming months and years. Will establish industry. is minnesota 23rd in the country Legalizing recreational marijuana.

Trisha Ahmed is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. report for usa is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on less-covered issues. X, formerly Follow him on Twitter: @trishaahmad15

Copyright 2024 The associated Press, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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