Pennsylvania medical cannabis company lays off 55 workers, calls for relief

Pennsylvania medical cannabis grower and processor Calypso Enterprises is calling on the state to provide “equitable relief” for independent marijuana companies after it laid off 55 workers at its facility in Erie.

Calypso, announcing the cuts in a news release, referenced “a number of precipitating events requiring the reductions.”

The layoffs amount to nearly 75% of the company’s staff, according to the Erie Times-News.

“Calypso is one of a small number of independent permit holders that remain in the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program and as such, has seen significant market pressure result in a necessary scaling back of operations from August 2021,” the Aug. 5 release noted.

The release said Calypso has been “seeking equitable relief” from the state health department and Legislature “and continues to pursue that path.”

In a separate statement to MJBizDaily, a Calypso representative said the company has no issue “with (multistate cannabis operators doing business in Pennsylvania) themselves as their business model works – increase revenue, drive down cost, eliminate competition.”

“Rather, the (Pennsylvania) Department of Health has allowed monopolistic control to happen through lack of enforcement of the regulations,” Laura Guncheon, a vice president with Calypso parent company Erie Management Group, said in the statement.

Guncheon said Pennsylvania’s MMJ law “allows for additional permits to be awarded through the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board and equitable relief is to make independent permittees vertical operators.”

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Calypso’s layoffs come only weeks after another Pennsylvania MMJ producer, Hanging Gardens, laid off dozens of workers and reduced others’ hours.

Hanging Gardens subsequently said it plans to sue the state, alleging anti-competitive business practices permitted by the state.

Calypso and Hanging Gardens both won their medical marijuana production licenses in 2018.