Massachusetts-based cannabis titan Curaleaf (CSE: CURA/OTCQX: CURLF) confirmed this week that it plans to close its marijuana cultivation facility in Bellmawr, New Jersey, which could reportedly result in up to 40 layoffs.
The grow operation is one of the company’s two in New Jersey, NJ.com reported, but the company will be consolidating the pair of operations into its facility in Winslow, to cut costs and accurately size production.
“Curaleaf is phasing out cultivation at our Bellmawr, New Jersey location to meet current business needs, and will utilize that location for other operations at this time. This allows us to consolidate our production of key product platforms with our Winslow facility and will streamline processes to increase output,” Curaleaf said in a statement provided to Green Market Report. “Winslow has the capacity to support New Jersey’s overall market demand.”
“The company values the dedication of the Bellmawr team and will work to identify other opportunities within its overall operations for impacted team members,” the statement reads. “These changes do not impact our dispensary in Bellmawr which will continue to operate and serve both medical patients and adult use customers.”
The move follows layoffs by Curaleaf in Massachusetts last year, when it shed 220 workers, and also laid off 50 employees in California after closing a cultivation facility in August, NJ.com reported.
Though it’s unclear just how many Curaleaf workers will lose their jobs, NJ.com reported that a representative of the United Food and Commercial Workers union said he’d spoken to about 40 who were concerned about the closure.
Workers at the Bellmawr grow were attempting to unionize with the UFCW, the union rep told NJ.com, but “management interfered,” which led the union to file a formal complaint about Curaleaf with the National Labor Relations Board roughly three weeks ago. That complaint is still awaiting arbitration.
The UFCW representative, Hugh Giordano, told NJ.com he suspects the layoffs are in response to unionization attempts, an assertion that Curaleaf spokeswoman Stephanie Cunha vigorously denied.
Cunha said the Bellmawr closure has “nothing to do with the union,” NJ.com reported.
The UFCW has been making inroads with cannabis workers nationally for years, but which has also resulted in multiple head-butting incidents with companies that don’t want organized labor in their midst.
Curaleaf has about 5,500 staff nationwide and has a national footprint in 19 states.