Exclusive: Read the letter handed to laid-off Trulieve workers in Massachusetts
The letter includes details of the severance package workers received.
The scoop: I have the full letter around 90 Trulieve workers the company’s Holyoke, MA facility were handed when they were told on June 1 that the facility would be shut down and they’d lose their jobs.
The letter includes details of the severance package workers received.1
Read it in full below. Names redacted for privacy:
Key points in the letter:
The facility will close by July 31.
All employees will be terminated by July 31.
All employees will be considered inactive by July 1 but still receive salary and benefits until the 31.
The big picture: Trulieve is saying goodbye to Massachusetts.
The Florida-based cannabis multi-state operator (MSO) said that it would cease Massachusetts operations by the end of the year, laying off 128 workers in the process, the company told me.
The company eliminated ninety roles alone at its Holyoke cultivation facility.
That’s the same facility where 27-year old Lorna McMurrey worked before dying from allegedly inhaling cannabis dust.
Why it matters: Trulieve, like other big MSOs, is in cost-cutting mode as the industry contends with lower sales and falling prices. That sadly means more layoffs for cannabis workers.
The backdrop is important:
Massachusetts has been a particularly hard state for cannabis companies to make money in.
But Trulieve is also pulling back in other states, too — it announced on June 1 that it is shutting down a cannabis shop in Grover Beach, California and will exit Nevada as well.
The company’s stock is down around 44% this year as of Thursday.
Nicole Yelland, a spokesperson for Trulieve, confirmed the layoffs but didn’t comment on the letter specifically.
“Over the past year, Trulieve has worked to streamline and optimize operations across the organization focusing on markets with long-term growth potential,” she said in an emailed statement.
🌿 Jer’s take
For starters, there’s nothing overtly nefarious about the letter Trulieve sent to laid-off employees.
One month of paid severance is pretty standard, if not generous for the cannabis industry.2 The company also complied with all disclosure laws in Massachusetts.
And investors would say Trulieve executives are being prudent for cutting costs and focusing instead on states where there is a more clear path to profitability.
But unfortunately, workers often bear the brunt of these business pivots, and Trulieve’s track record of worker treatment is dismal.
To be clear, layoffs happen in every industry. They’re even more common in emerging industries like cannabis, where it’s difficult to make money because of high taxes, shifting regulations, and the difficulty of competing against cheaper products from illicit market.
Still, responsible companies should avoid over-extending themselves to juice margins.
The cliche is always true: Workers are humans, who need these jobs. They’re not line items.
If companies like Trulieve are going to continue to make risky bets on new markets, they should have a plan in place before making promises to workers, only to then pull the rug out.
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