Trees Cannabis employees in Victoria anticipated the possibility of a job loss but say it came sooner than expected. (Twitter/@TreesVanIsland)

More than 100 Trees Cannabis employees out of a job

Province shuts down two stores, CEO follows by closing all Victoria locations

More than 100 Victoria Trees Cannabis employees have lost their jobs in the wake of the province’s crackdown on the unlicensed dispensary.

On Wednesday members of the Public Safety and Solicitor General’s Community Safety Unit’s Community Safety Unit shut down the business’s Alpha Street location and proceeded to close the store on Yates Street the next day. As a result, the company has suspended operations at the remainder of the Victoria locations.

“For a lot of people, it’s kind of very surreal. I don’t think it’s really sunk in,” says Avery Podgorenko, a night supervisor at the Trees Cannabis location on Cook Street. “A lot of us knew this was a possibility but it’s now become very real.”

Podgorenko said it’s still unclear how severances and other end of employment agreements will pan out but he said a member of the company’s human resources team had already been working with some employees in preparation for a planned closure in September, which was intended to suspend business until the company had obtained its license.

READ ALSO: Popular unlicensed Victoria cannabis dispensary shut down by province

READ ALSO: Province cracks down on second Victoria Trees Cannabis location, all to close today

Podgorenko has a second job, but says a vast majority of Trees employees worked full-time positions.

“There are a lot of people that that is their full-time and only source of income,” he said. “It’s definitely stressful.”

In a statement released Wednesday, CEO Alex Robb said a two-week notice of termination had been given to employees after the first closure. That changed Thursday when it became clear that the province’s Alpha Street shut down wasn’t just a warning.

“Our main concern right now is for our staff. At this time, we cannot put our team at risk of fines from the CSU,” Robb stated Wednesday.

Podgorenko said the company has been transparent with staff about the need to search out other employment.

“It’s difficult with the lack of timelines and solid information, but one thing that has been made abundantly clear is that staff are more than welcome to come back when licensing is actually issued,” he said. “We don’t know when that’s going to happen, it could be two week, it could be two months, it could be 14 months and so Victoria obviously is not a cheap city to live in and I do appreciate that transparency of, ‘yes, you should go look for other sources of income and other employment while we wait for the licensing.’”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Ogden Point officially rebranded as The Breakwater District

New signage and logos accompany plans for the area’s future

Police arrest two men on Gorge Road East

Traffic has resumed in the area

Some 5,000 residents on the Saanich Peninsula have signed up for alert system

Sidney hosts Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Exhibition Friday

CRD warns of traffic delays on Marigold Road

Ongoing work in the Colquitz River will affect traffic until Friday

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Sooke athletes win gold at 55+ Games

Myrtle Acton, 86, leads way with three first place finishes

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Charges dropped against Mountie involved in shooting death of Surrey man

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says

Proposals sparked protest in Kootenays, Williams Lake region

Two B.C. women selected to compete on ABC’s The Bachelor

Mykenna Dorn and Alexis Thind will compete for bachelor Peter Weber’s heart

Most Read