April 29th was a challenging day for major marijuana producer, Canopy Growth. In a statement to the Canadian press, Canopy Growth Corporation announced its most recent round of cuts, which saw 200 staff members laid off from Canadian, U.S., and U.K. offices. This brings Canopy Growth’s current layoff total to 1,000 employees, including Covid-19 furloughs. According to reporting by Canadian news outlet OttawaMatters.com, which was present for the briefing, Chief Executive David Klein framed the cuts as Canopy Growth’s shift in focus from being first to being best. This, after a mid-April shake-up in which the company shed 85 full-time workers and closed some facilities. The lay-offs were announced during a group Zoom call, which Kate Dingvall’s reporting for Forbes Magazine revealed lasted only two minutes.
Canopy Growth, which became the first publicly traded cannabis company in North America in April 2014, has built a variety of brands over the years, including Tweed, Spectrum Therapeutics, DNA Genetics, and Maitri. The company struggled to realize a profit due to several factors, including a glut of hemp, slower-than-anticipated development in the Canadian market, changing regulations, and fluctuating demand. The decision to downsize personnel and operations to focus on products that are proven earners with proven demand is Canopy Growth’s latest viability strategy.
This strategy includes closing two of the company’s largest greenhouses, both in British Columbia, as well as restructuring global operations in Africa, South America, and beyond. Plans for opening a new greenhouse in Ontario were also scrapped, as Canopy shifts the focus of their growing operations from greenhouses to outdoor sites, which are less costly to establish and manage. (These were not permitted by federal regulations until after the company had already invested heavily in greenhouse facilities). Billed as the world’s largest marijuana company, these cutbacks will hardly bump Canopy Growth down to bush league status, but the restructuring of this industry heavyweight is still big news, and will likely have a sizable impact on the cannabis market moving forward.