License Problems Lead to Layoffs at Cannabis Chain

Be at the forefront of cannabis and psychedelics science and innovation. Register by March 14 & Save $100 on tickets to The Emerald Conference by MJBiz Science, April 1-3 in San Diego.

A marijuana baron in Colorado has been forced to lay off roughly 45% of his workforce because his business licenses have all been put on hold by the state.

Shawn Phillips, who owns nine cannabis shops around the state and holds 39 licenses, was told by the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) that his applications for several new permits were denied. This resulted in his other licenses being put in a “sort of pending status,” the Denver Post reported.

As a consequence, Phillips has had to tighten his company’s belt, and he decided to lay off 65 employees – most at his cultivation facilities.

“It created a huge financial burden on the company and the loss of revenue that we can’t put in the ground,” Phillips told the Post. “And it put us in a situation where we had to make a business decision.”

Phillips told the Post he hopes that the licensing issues get sorted out and he’ll be able to rehire the employees, so it may only be a temporary situation. His nine shops are still open for business.

But there was no clarity from the MED, which told the Post only that it couldn’t comment because the situation involved an ongoing investigation.