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Alberta cannabis producer confirms layoffs

FILE -- Cannara Biotech Inc. said it has received a cannabis cultivation licence from Health Canada.
FILE -- Cannara Biotech Inc. said it has received a cannabis cultivation licence from Health Canada. Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story contained comments and statements from an industry stakeholder who criticized Sundial Growers and the cannabis industry, which Global News was not able to corroborate or verify. The story has been corrected to remove those statements and to include further context and information from Sundial. Global News regrets the error.

Alberta-based cannabis producer Sundial confirmed Tuesday that it has laid off “less than 10 per cent” of its workforce.

In a statement to Global News, it said: “In the spirit of continuous optimization for efficiency and effectiveness, Sundial has made some organizational changes… It’s important we remain agile in responding to the realities of the evolving cannabis market.”

READ MORE: Cannabis edibles arrive on Alberta store shelves

Sundial did not confirm how many people 10 per cent equated to.

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In an emailed statement on Thursday, CEO Torsten Kuenzlen said the layoffs were “a necessary step that was taken in the long-term interest of the company, our investors and customers.”

“We made a decision this week to streamline our staffing levels, as they continue to evolve based on the demand for our products and in response to the growth constraints faced by all cannabis industry participants,” Kuenzlen said.

Kuenzlen said the regulatory barriers in the cannabis industry have resulted in fewer storefronts opening across the country, which has led to lower sales than producers expected. He added the popularity of the black market is also hurting new licensed producers, like Sundial.

READ MORE: Hundreds of cannabis stores in Alberta but users still turning to black market

“Yet, despite the industry headwinds, in our most recent reported third quarter from July to September as a public company, Sundial recorded sales of recreational cannabis products of more than $28 million in Canada alone with an additional $5.5 million in revenue coming from our new European operation,” Kuenzlen said.

“Our Canadian sales represented growth of over 40 per cent compared to the prior quarter and placed us among the largest – and one of the few – growing cannabis companies in North America.”

Sundial Cannabis has laid off “less than 10 per cent” of its workforce.
Sundial Cannabis has laid off “less than 10 per cent” of its workforce. File/Global News

Kuenzlen said in the two years since Sundial was founded, the company has had 300 successful harvests.

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“Through our custom-built factory in Olds, we are the only ‘craft at scale’ cannabis grower in Canada,” Kuenzlen said.

READ MORE: Alberta sees most money spent on cannabis since legalization: StatCan