Minnesota’s messy start on regulating cannabis • WSWA’s new board chair • NCAA moves toward cutting cannabinoids from list of banned drugs • & more …

Mon, Sep 25
Key Points
  • Erin DuPree stepped down as the director of Minnesota's Office of Cannabis Management following reports that her company sold products exceeding THC limits and accumulated unpaid debts. Charlene Briner is currently serving as interim director.
  • Doug Shaw, president of M.S. Walker, Inc., was announced as the Chairman of the Board for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. The association is becoming more involved in federal cannabis conversations, particularly regarding regulatory structure and distribution.
  • The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports has formally called for legislation to remove cannabinoids from the list of banned drug classes. Each division of the NCAA will determine how to move forward with this recommendation.
  • The recommendation to remove cannabinoids from the banned drug list came after the Summit on Cannabinoids in College Athletics, where it was concluded that cannabis is not a performance-enhancing drug and a harm-reduction approach should be taken at the school level.

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Well, that was fast. Late last week, we reported in this newsletter that Gov. Tim Walz named Erin DuPree as the first director of the state’s new Office of Cannabis Management, formed to oversee adult use cannabis. Walz called DuPree a “proven and effective leader.”

One day later, DuPree stepped down following a report from Minnesota Public Radio that her company, Loonacy Cannabis Co., sold products that exceeded the state’s allowable THC limits, and that DuPree had racked up tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid debts.

Until a new director is named, the interim position is held by Charlene Briner. 

Late last week, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) announced Doug Shaw, the president of M.S. Walker, Inc., as Chairman of the Board. 

Cannabis Wire is keeping a close eye on WSWA’s moves as they step deeper into the federal cannabis conversation, specifically with an eye on federal regulatory structure and distribution. 

Shaw recently spoke to the association members during its annual membership meeting in Washington, D.C.

On the topic of the future of WSWA and strategic opportunities, Shaw highlighted “advocating for the comprehensive federal regulation of cannabis.”

After nearly a year of deliberations, the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports has formally called for the introduction and adoption of “legislation that would remove cannabinoids from the list of NCAA banned drug classes.”

Now, it is up to each of the NCAA’s three divisions to determine whether and how best to move forward. (More on the NCAA’s governance structure here.)

As Cannabis Wire previously reported in this newsletter, this conversation started in December at the Summit on Cannabinoids in College Athletics, during which, according to the NCAA, there was “consensus” that “cannabis is not a performance-enhancing drug and that a harm-reduction approach to cannabis is best implemented at the school level.” 

“We are recommending a big shift in the paradigm when it comes to cannabinoids. We want to modernize the strategy with the most up-to-date research to give schools the best opportunity to support the health of student-athletes,” said committee chair James Houle in the announcement about the recommendation.