This week, one of the Canada's major licensed medical cannabis producers announced a significant reduction in its workforce.
Tilray, which operates a growing operation in Nanaimo, is laying off 61 workers.
The CEO, Greg Engel, has put a positive spin on the news, saying in a written statement that the changes are going to "more efficiently serve patients and the MMPR market as it exists today".
The reality is that Tilray is having trouble competing with dispensaries in urban markets that sell edibles and extracts prohibited under the federal licensing regime.
Earlier this week in a column entitled "Stephen Harper's reefer madness", I outlined some of the ways in which the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations impede patients from obtaining legal medical cannabis.
These patients don't want the hassle of seeing a physician (who might be ignorant about medical cannabis) to get an authorization form. And they don't want to have to wait for their medicine to be shipped from a faraway location.
Besides, companies like Tilray can't advertise because of restrictions imposed on it by the federal government. I wouldn't be surprised if the licensed producers have been wary of launching a constitutional challenge against this prohibition for fear of repercussions from Health Canada.
It's sad that Tilray's investors put up a whole lot of money to follow the rules, only to discover that so many patients already have trusted distribution channels.
Just last February, the CEO of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, Sasha Angus, was lauding Tiray's facility as being "like a vault wrapped by Fort Knox wrapped in a castle".
Tilray's workers are caught in the crossfire and it isn't their fault. More than five dozen have lost their jobs.
This is the real face of Canada's Economic Action Plan under the Conservative government.