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Cannabis site Leafly just laid off nearly 40% of its workforce as coronavirus upends the marijuana industry

Cannabis news and information website Leafly laid off nearly 40% of its workforce, or 91 employees, on Monday as the economic downturn related to the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the cannabis industry.

Journalist and former Leafly news editor Ben Adlin first surfaced the news on Twitter. Leafly confirmed the cuts in a statement provided to Business Insider.

“We’re heartbroken to have to let so many talented people go in such an uncertain time,” Leafly CEO Tim Leslie said. “COVID-19 has rocked global financial markets and put further capital investments we were expecting on pause.”

“This workforce reduction will allow us to be financially self-sufficient so we can continue to help consumers and patients learn about and order cannabis online while providing cannabis retailers and brands the services they need during this global crisis,” Leslie said.

This is the second round of layoffs Leafly has had to undertake to cut costs this year. In January, Leafly eliminated 54 roles or 18% of its then-workforce.

In November, Leafly froze hiring, limited travel for employees, and reigned in spending around its holiday parties in an effort led by Leslie to cut costs, according to a memo obtained and first reported by Business Insider.

Leafly was started in 2010 in Seattle as a way to locate dispensaries and review cannabis strains and has since expanded into content marketing, a news and editorial division, and an events business. In 2011, Privateer Holdings — a cannabis private-equity fund backed by Peter Thiel—bought the company. It was spun out of Privateer in February.

Leslie joined Leafly in March after serving as a VP of Amazon Prime.

Leafly is far from the only cannabis industry company to lay off employees in recent weeks.

Green Bits, a Silicon Valley cannabis tech startup, cut 40 employees on March 9, as Business Insider reported. Greenlane Holdings, a cannabis vaporizer and accessories company, laid off 31 employees in February, cannabis cultivator Acreage Holdings eliminated 40 workers after a strategic review in February, and the cannabis retailer MedMen cut 128 employees in February and shuttered its Arizona operations in a bid to cut costs.

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