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Cannabis site Leafly freezing hiring, limiting travel: internal memo



  • Cannabis website Leafly is taking steps to limit spending, according to an internal memo obtained by Business Insider.
  • Leafly is pausing most hiring, cutting all non-essential travel for employees, and reining in its yearly holiday party, according to a memo obtained by Business Insider.
  • "We're taking Q4 to get our very large new team settled and ready for 2020, while continuing to fill some select product and engineering roles, which is the responsible thing to do," a Leafly spokesperson said.
  • Over the past few weeks, cannabis companies have announced a series of job cuts, mounting to close to 600 laid-off workers in the sector as a whole.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories, and subscribe to our weekly cannabis newsletter, Cultivated.

Cannabis website Leafly is taking steps to limit spending as the industry reckons with a slowdown after a period of rapid growth.

The company is freezing hiring, limiting travel for employees, and reining in its holiday party, according to a memo obtained by Business Insider. Leafly also ended contracts for 16 temporary workers, the company confirmed.

"When you grow as much as we have – we have added 150 people in just over 7 months, doubling in size – it's important to effectively onboard everyone and make sure that we, as an organization, are working well within and across teams , "Leafly CEO Tim Leslie wrote in the memo, which was sent Thursday evening.

"With this in mind, we're going to pause further with the exception of a few urgent product and engineering hires," he wrote.

Leslie said in the memo that the company has added 150 people in just seven months – bringing the total workforce to 300 – which he said is the hiring goal for this year.

"Leafly has doubled in size over the last seven months," Leafly VP of Corporate Affairs Laura Morarity told Business Insider. "And like all responsible companies we're managing to an annual budget."

"We're taking Q4 to get our very large new team settled and ready for 2020, while continuing to fill some select product and engineering roles, which is the responsible thing to do," she said.

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

"We need to lean into our guiding principle of acting as an owner and are asking everyone to postpone or cancel any travel that is not business critical, we have already used our full T&E budget for the year," Leslie wrote in the memo .

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

Despite the memo going out Thursday, Leafly is still advertising for nearly 30 jobs on its employment page, for positions across editorial, content, engineering, sales, and product in its Seattle headquarters and in its Toronto and Berlin offices.

In October, Leafly's data science team launched a strain explorer tool to help visualize cannabis strains. The company has published deep investigative journalism on the spate of vaping-related lung injuries.

Leafly is not the only cannabis company to cut back. Over the past few weeks, cannabis companies – ranging from venture-backed startups to Pax to giants like CannTrust – have announced a series of job cuts, mounting to close to 600 laid-off workers in the sector as a whole.

Read the full memo here:

Hello team,

As we march toward the end of the year and our Leafly Market launch, I want you to know how excited I am about the team we have hired and what we are building for our customers – we are accomplishing a ton together. We're pushing hard, delivering products and features with velocity, have a good plan to meet our revenue goals, and are now officially 300 people strong – our hiring goal for the year.

Right now, SLT is spending time working through our 2020 plans, and as part of that effort we will use Q4 to make sure we get all our new hires settled into their roles. When you grow as much as we have – we have added 150 people in just over 7 months, doubling in size – it's important to effectively onboard everyone and make sure that we, as an organization, are working well within and across teams. With this in mind, we're going to pause further with the exception of a few urgent product and engineering hires. In the next few weeks, we'll share a clearer view of what roles we'll open for 2020, how they align with the company roadmap, and how they'll be promised.

Separately, while it's important to generate revenue (as part of delivering a great experience for customers), being diligent in managing our budgets is equally as important. We need to lean into our guiding principle of acting as an owner and are asking everyone to postpone or cancel any travel that is not business critical, we have already used our full T&E budget for the year. Some of you have asked if we will be flying folks in for our holiday party this year. We'll be saving that for our annual summer party again and instead have holiday parties in our individual offices. For those who are remote, you'll be receiving a gift certificate to take yourself and a friend or significant other out for dinner.

This is an exciting time at Leafly. We're growing, and we're going to continue to grow. Q4 is the perfect time for us to plan for the future, reflect on what's working and what we can improve, help our teams settle in, and set ourselves up for a successful 2020 and beyond. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to me, your SLT member or HR business partner.

Thank you,

Tim


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