Massachusetts marijuana firm cuts workers, blames COVID-19, governor

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New England Treatment Access, a Massachusetts cannabis company, on Friday said it will reduce its workforce by an undisclosed number of employees as it has seen its store traffic drop by 85% during the coronavirus crisis.

NETA President Amanda Rositano blamed Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision to not allow adult-use cannabis stores to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic as “essential” businesses, reported.

“Gov. Baker’s decision to halt the sale of adult-use cannabis has resulted in the unintended consequences of restricting important access for customers who rely on cannabis for their well-being and the loss of jobs for many hard-working employees in our industry,” Rositano said in a statement.

In order to “adjust to this new normal,” she added, the company needed to reduce its workforce “as well as place a number of our employees on furloughs until the governor lifts his order against adult-use sales.”

In Massachusetts, adult-use MJ sales are on hold until at least May 4.

Earlier this week, a group of recreational marijuana businesses sued Baker in an effort to force a reversal of his decision to declare adult-use MJ stores as nonessential businesses. Baker has said he fears out-of-state shoppers would spread the disease.

Earlier this month, two NETA employees – one at a cultivation facility it owns and another at a marijuana store – tested positive for COVID-19.

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.