Cannabis Watch

California pot distributor Herbl lays off employees amid cash crunch

Herbl CEO Mike Beaudry in photo supplied by company last year.


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California cannabis distributor Herbl Solutions has laid off most or nearly all of its staff as the state’s legal business struggles to compete with the illicit market, a source familiar with the company told MarketWatch.

The move comes about nine months after Herbl disclosed to MarketWatch it had more than 200 employees and a delivery network of 1,000 licensed cannabis retailers.

The company fell behind on a loan from East West Bancorp EWBC, +1.83% and is in receivership, according to a report by MJBiz, a cannabis-focused publication. East West Bancorp did not reply to an email from MarketWatch.

Herbl CEO Mike Beaudry did not comment, according to the MJBiz report.

The loss of a relatively established player in the state marks the latest blow to California’s cannabis market, where cannabis retailers have fallen behind on their payments to distributors.

Also Read: Cannabis company offers jobs to laid-off Burger King workers in Michigan, but the overall cannabis employment picture is mixed

Herbl has received an undisclosed amount of financial backing from private investment firms Salveo Capital, Silverleaf Venture Partners and Measure 8, among others.?

In an internal interview shared with MarketWatch last year, Beaudry said his experience in the illicit market prior to the legalization of adult-use cannabis in California helped him launch Herbl in 2016.

He previously worked as president of United Natural Foods Inc. UNFI, -3.68% from 1999 to 2010 and was also CEO of Lang Pharma Nutrition from 2010 to 2016.

Also Read: How a California cannabis company’s founder is tapping his deep roots in the business to navigate the legal market