Acquisition by cannabis tech platform Akerna spurs layoffs, leadership split

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Denver-based Akerna, a marijuana compliance software company, parted ways with John Prentice, the founder of Canadian firm Ample Organics, only months after a $45 million acquisition deal closed.

An Akerna spokesperson released a statement to Marijuana Business Daily confirming the acquisition led to layoffs at the company.

“As a company,” Akerna said in the statement, “we prioritize our people first and foremost, but sometimes it is unfortunately necessary to reduce staff.

“This is never a decision taken lightly and one that is avoided at all costs. Our recent changes reflect our commitment to positive growth in a responsible and efficient manner.”

Prentice’s departure was first reported by New Cannabis Ventures.

In a post on his personal website announcing his resignation, Prentice said Akerna’s executive leadership was “incapable” of creating the “preeminent global (cannabis) technology platform” and leading the “cannabis industry’s evolution.”

Prentice also said he asked Akerna CEO Jessica Billingsley to resign.

The Akerna statement noted that the company’s leadership understands that personalities, and even technologies, do not always mesh:

“As disappointing as the resignation of John Prentice is, we only want what is best for all parties involved.

“We look forward to the continued growth and success of the Akerna portfolio, of which Ample Organics and its technology and team hold a significant level of importance. We remain committed to our clients and more importantly, our team.”

Ample Organics, a seed-to-sale software business, said last December when its acquisition by Akerna was announced that the company served more than 70% of Canadian cannabis license holders.