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Organigram lays off 220 people, expects drop in revenue

Growing flowers of cannabis intended for the medical marijuana market are shown at OrganiGram in Moncton, N.B., on April 14, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ron Ward

New Brunswick-based cannabis producer Organigram announced Friday it has laid off 220 people amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said that represents about 25 per cent of its workforce.

A news release said the company will move forward with 433 employees at its facility in Moncton and 609 employees overall, including 84 who are described as being on “temporary layoff who may be recalled if and when needed as the business requires.”

“These decisions are never easy to make, but we are committed to ensuring the company is appropriately sized relative to market conditions,” Organigram CEO Greg Engel said in the release. “We are incredibly grateful for the commitment that our affected employees have made in helping build the company that Organigram is today.”

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Organigram was founded in 2013 as a producer of medical cannabis. It’s also a producer of recreational cannabis for the New Brunswick market under an agreement with the provincial government.

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Friday’s release said the company will continue to produce at levels below the capacity of the Moncton facility. It said it will focus on bringing “new cultivars to market and increasing the tetrahydrocannabinol (‘THC’) and terpene profile of its dried flower to meet emerging consumer demand.”

The publicly traded company also said it’s delaying the timing of filing its third-quarter (Q3) interim financial statements by about a week. The filings were due July 15, but will now be released on July 21.

“Given the timing of the company’s fiscal Q3 2020 corresponding with COVID-19 coupled with changing market dynamics, the company expects to report a decline in net revenue for fiscal Q3 2020 compared to fiscal Q2 2020 impacted by insignificant wholesale revenue being recorded in the quarter,” the release said.

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