Acreage Holdings, which owns medical marijuana manufacturer Iowa Relief, said it will temporarily halt wholesale operations in Iowa, becoming the latest in a string of cannabis-related closures with potential consequences for the state’s fledgling program.
The announcement means the temporary closure of a 5,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation and processing plant in southwest Cedar Rapids, where Iowa Relief produces medical marijuana capsules, topical ointments and tinctures.
New York-based Acreage Holdings announced the cost-cutting measure Friday alongside several others — including temporary closures of dispensary or edibles manufacturing operations in five other states and the furlough of 122 corporate and field operations employees.
“These bold measures will help to ensure that we emerge from this very challenging situation stronger than ever before,” Kevin Murphy, Acreage’s chairman and CEO, said in a news release.
The announcement did not specifically mention the growing impact of the coronavirus on the U.S. and world economy.
With Iowa Relief’s hiatus, MedPharm is currently the state’s lone manufacturer of medical marijuana products.
Though Murphy said he remains “optimistic” about the U.S. cannabis industry, MedPharm General Manager Lucas Nelson said the temporary halt to Iowa Relief’s operations will further strain Iowa’s medical cannabis program.
Nelson said he believes Acreage’s closures puts its future operations in jeopardy.
If there are no workers, he continued, the company’s marijuana plants will die, likely resulting in a delay before products return to shelves.
“It’ll be a year or more before the dispensaries are reopened — if there is even an interest in applying for them at this time,” he said in a Tuesday email to The Gazette. “The news about Acreage certainly casts more doubt.”
MedPharm’s dispensaries likely will not be able to provide Acreage products after its current stock runs out, Nelson said.
In addition, the Beyond Iowa Relief, Have a Heart Compassionate Care dispensaries closed suddenly last week in Council Bluffs and Davenport,