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News Release: OCM Adds Implementation Leadership


News Release
Nov. 27, 2023

Minnesota Office of Cannabis Management Adds Implementation Leadership  

St. Paul, MN: Minnesota’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) announced today that Max Zappia will join the agency as its Implementation Chief Regulatory Officer.  

Zappia photo

Zappia, the Deputy Commissioner of Financial Institutions at the Minnesota Department of Commerce, will be on a temporary reassignment from his current role to lead the design, implementation, and launch of the regulatory structure for the OCM. He starts at the new agency on Wednesday, November 29.  

“Our primary goal as we continue building out the Office of Cannabis Management is to design and launch a regulatory system that safeguards public health and safety, promotes equitable economic opportunity, and ensures a safe, reliable, and accessible adult-use cannabis market,” said Interim Director Charlene Briner. “Max has a national reputation as an experienced regulator who also prioritizes equity and sustainable business practices. His expertise will be invaluable as we continue our work to stand up the new agency.”  

In his role as the Deputy Commissioner of Financial Institutions at the Department of Commerce, Zappia oversees the Financial Institution Division teams that work on regulation of state-chartered banks, state-chartered credit unions, and non-depository (non-bank) financial institutions licensed in Minnesota, encompassing finance companies, mortgage-related businesses, and money transmitters. Zappia joined Commerce in 2009, previously served as Chief Examiner of Banking and Regional Program Director for the agency, and has been Deputy Commissioner since 2017. While at Commerce, Zappia has worked on issues related to cannabis banking since 2018, including developing regulatory guidance for Minnesota financial institutions for hemp banking and interstate efforts to clarify federal cannabis banking regulations.

About the Office of Cannabis Management

On May 30, Governor Walz signed legislation making Minnesota the 23rd state to legalize adult-use cannabis. The law establishes the OCM to regulate cannabis, including for the adult-use market, the Medical Cannabis Program, and for lower-potency hemp edibles. The OCM will be responsible for issuing licenses and developing regulations outlining how and when businesses can participate in the industry.    


Media Contact

Peter Raeker