Tilray layoffs underscore problems with Conservative government's restrictive approach to medical marijuana

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      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.



      I told you so

      Jun 27, 2015 at 11:19pm

      This is exactly what the Harper government wanted. A system that does not work. The sitting government does not want any form of medical marijuana. Tweed and Bedrocan merged for financial reasons, this is the play that Harper wanted. It should be interesting to see how hard the conservatives fight Vancouver on their "legitimate" medical shops.

      Carson Smith

      Jun 28, 2015 at 7:13am

      True name for that is economic destruction plan
      8 years of the blue
      vote red in Oct or we're dead

      Weed Head

      Jun 28, 2015 at 9:47am

      Boo hoo to you for trying to grow rich on a government scheme to take control of the weed distribution from the gangs without any benefit at all to Canadians .
      The current regime will never ever make weed available to anyone except through the supreme court. Any hope of legal weed is still a pipe dream.


      Jun 28, 2015 at 10:48am

      Big risk buying into a market that is already saturated with distributors.. Sorry this would of paid huge had they done their research.. Sticking with companies who know their stuff and don't try and stretch.. Slower is best in this Industry right now.. Jump to quickly or try and dominate you will pay.


      Jun 29, 2015 at 9:42am

      I think the 61 layoffs are because of tilray and their poor business plan, not because of Harper. Other lps are hiring not firing so the BC compassion scene + Harper's mmpr cannot explain tilrays layoffs alone.


      Jun 29, 2015 at 5:07pm

      The man is always tryin to put us down! The man can fuck off!

      Kim Cooper

      Jun 29, 2015 at 5:20pm

      Dispensary's are not the Problem for LP's. Poor quality, High prices and lack of availability is their, as well as all LP's, issue.
      I am forced to use dispensary's and Compassion Clubs due to the Poor quality of the Cannabis supplied by LP's. The prices are so high for any good quality Medication, it remains out of reach for those that are Ill & need the Medicine. Chances are, if your Ill, you don't have much of an income. The cost of Medication that I would require from an LP would be MORE than the Canadian Government gives me to live on, on CPP.

      Phil Evans

      Jun 30, 2015 at 11:26am

      Tilray were advertising for people only recently.
      Why would anyone buy from these guys when it is cheaper and better on the black market and at dispensaries. These guys saw a way to make big money, hope it bites them in the ...