A key executive at cannabis-vaporizer and accessories company Greenlane Holdings resigned from the company on February 20, two days after the company laid off 31 employees in its Florida and California offices, per a securities filing reviewed by Business Insider.
The executive, former chief marketing officer Sasha Kadey, officially left the company on February 28, the filing says. Kadey told Business Insider over the phone that he’ll stay on as a strategic advisor to Greenlane for six months, focused on brand-building.
Kadey said he remains a shareholder in Greenlane and has “tremendous faith” in the company and it’s “medium and long-term trajectory.”
“I’ve been working nonstop since I graduated college building brands for employes,” Kadey said. “It’s 2020, it’s a new decade, I wanted to operate on my own and with a larger platform, building brands that I own.”
Kadey updated his LinkedIn page to “Founder and CEO” at the Small Circle Group.
In a statement provided after this story was published, a spokesperson for Greenlane said Kadey stepped down to pursue other opportunities, including launching his own venture in an unrelated industry.
“We are grateful for Sasha’s many contributions to the company,” the spokesperson said.
Greenlane’s stock has lost close to 90% of its value since it went public in April, plummeting below $1.50 per share.
The initial 31 layoffs were communicated to employees on February 18, as Business Insider previously reported.
“As we look to the next phase of Greenlane’s growth, we have recently made a series of decisions that will better position us to streamline our operations and focus resources on the most strategic opportunities,” a Greenlane spokesperson said in an emailed statement at the time. “While difficult, we fundamentally believe the changes we are making are necessary and reposition our company for a stronger future.”
One of the sources who had been at the company for over three years said “every” department was affected and that Greenlane had been cutting back on companywide events in recent months while telling employees that everything was going well in all-hands meetings.
Greenlane Holdings is far from the only cannabis and cannabis-adjacent company to lose executives and feel the brunt of the industry’s downturn.
Headwinds the industry is facing include a broader public-market downturn linked to a spate of vaping-related illnesses last year, lower-than-expected retail revenues in Canada and legal states like California, and legislative and regulatory hurdles that make accessing capital much more difficult than in other industries as well as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Flashy cannabis retailer MedMen quietly laid off 128 people in February, securities filings show, and the company’s former CEO stepped down on February 1. Cannabis cultivator and retailer Acreage Holdings laid off 40 employees in February, and Canopy Growth was forced to shutter two large greenhouses laying off over 500 workers, among others.
The North American Marijuana Index, which tracks a basket of cannabis and cannabis-related stocks, has tumbled almost 50% this year, building on 2019’s rout.