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The Job Hits Keep Coming: What To Do First If You’re Laid Off in the Cannabis Industry


Have you been laid off in the cannabis industry recently? If so, you are not alone. Cannabis job losses have been prevalent of late as recession fears, high inflation, and price compression have prompted cannabis businesses to make job cuts as they fight to survive for the long term. Fortunately, there are steps you can take that will ease the hit of a layoff, and set yourself up for a quick rebound.


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Why Is Cannabis Job Loss Happening?

During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for cannabis surged in Colorado and other legal markets when it was declared an essential industry and dispensaries were allowed to remain open for business during lockdowns. Investors grabbed onto that declaration and jumped at the chance to join the industry.

The accompanying rush to hire new employees and scale up eventually caused cannabis business owners to face layoffs as consumer demand declined just as some of those new cultivation facilities flooded the market with an oversupply of cannabis products. The upheaval increases cannabis company exposure to liability claims on their employment practices.

Disorganized Cannabis Businesses Abound

Employment law in cannabis is similar to employment law in non-cannabis industries, but the difference lies in the cannabis businesses themselves and the startup nature of the industry.

As an employee, you might find that cannabis companies can be quite disorganized. The disorganization stems from the prolific amount of agreements that were done by handshakes or verbal agreements with friends or acquaintances. This type of casual business inception often continues into the day-to-day management of the company and means that far too many cannabis companies operate without employment contracts or any formal human resources department. Some do not properly manage general and administrative expenses or clearly communicate operational details.

Cannabis Business Lawyers Can Help

As a result of the disorderly nature of some cannabis businesses, any claim you might have as a terminated employee will be stronger than if you were terminated by a company with standard operating procedures addressing layoffs in place. The lack of a formal structure for layoffs opens businesses up to potential unfair termination claims. If you have been laid off in the cannabis industry and have concerns about how it was done, reach out to the seasoned cannabis lawyers at Cantafio & Song for affordable and practical guidance and support.

Feelings of shame or embarrassment are normal after losing a job, but it is not all doom and gloom, and there are steps you can take to protect your interests. Above all, do not sign anything without talking to an attorney first.

Start by creating a checklist to bring to your attorney. Not everything you think is problematic with the manner in which you were laid off. With Cantafio & Song, you can expect a high-level overview of the entire layoff scenario and the cannabis business in question. We’ve observed that cannabis businesses that are operating inefficiently or in a disorganized fashion often do not have employment practices liability insurance purchased to protect them from allegations of wrongful termination, breach of employment contract, deprivation of career opportunity, or wrongful infliction of emotional distress.

A cannabis business lawyer also can investigate whether the employer is obligated to use a cannabis industry outplacement service to ensure their former employees receive proper post-layoff support. This can come in the very beneficial form of job placement resources, resume analysis, and interview training and preparation.


As one of the top cannabis law firms in Colorado, Cantafio & Song understands the complex nature of the cannabis industry and how businesses in distress can terminate employees with little to no notice or outgoing support. We are also a full-service law firm and assist clients in other areas of law such as criminal defense, estate planning, litigation, real estate, and more. If you have needs in any of these areas, contact Cantafio & Song’s legal team today.

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