Cannabis retailer High Tide awards employees inflation stipend

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Canadian cannabis retailer High Tide is offering employees temporary pay bumps to improve staff retention and help front-line workers weather inflationary pressures, MJBizDaily has learned, as rising overall costs take a greater toll on businesses and consumers.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company notified employees Monday via email they will receive temporary inflation payments, according to the text of the email that went to employees. The email was shared with MJBizDaily.

The payment will be equivalent to 1 Canadian dollar (78 cents) per hour and will be paid quarterly in a lump sum, minus taxes and other deductions. The first payment will cover only the month of June.

The program is anticipated to last until May 2023 but “may be discontinued at an earlier date,” according to the email.

Rising costs of goods and labor have hit the cannabis industry especially hard in recent months, as most businesses already operate on razor-thin margins – if they have any margin at all.

Consumer prices of Canadian adult-use cannabis products are still generally flat or falling, while U.S. and Canadian marijuana retailers are discounting their products more and more.

CEO Raj Grover confirmed the inflation payments in a statement to MJBizDaily.

“Our rapid growth since Canadian legalization to 127 stores would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our entire team, especially our frontline retail and warehouse staff,” he said in the statement.

“That’s why we made the decision to offer this temporary inflation support payments program, which will help our frontline staff weather some of the impacts of the inflationary pressures that are impacting workers worldwide, while helping our portfolio companies with employee retention and satisfaction.”

Grover added that High Tide’s success “is built on our team members and during this challenging time I want them to know that High Tide has their backs.”

The email is believed to have been sent to all front-line retail and warehouse employees at the company’s Valiant Distribution and Canna Cabana subsidiaries.

“In recognition of our retail hourly members working in a challenging environment of rising inflation, Canna Cabana confirms that we will be providing our actively employed hourly team members with a temporary increase in remuneration,” the email notes.

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As of February, High Tide had approximately 878 employees in Canada.

The company reported a net loss of 8.2 million Canadian dollars ($6.3 million) for its quarter ended April 30.

High Tide’s shares trade as HITI on the Nasdaq and the TSX Venture Exchange.

Matt Lamers can be reached at matt.lamers@mjbizdaily.com.