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Harborside, iconic California dispensary chain, ousts CEO

Harborside, an Oakland-based dispensary operator lionized as a pioneer in California’s cannabis industry, overhauled its executive team and ousted its CEO in an effort to spur growth, the company announced on Monday.

Andrew Berman, Harborside’s CEO since February 2018, helped steer the company through a $150 million reverse merger and public listing on the Canadian Securities Exchange in June. The company had grand ambitions for expansion in the Golden State.

Harborside’s timing for the public listing wasn’t the best.

During the past few months, capital markets have softened and the public markets in particular have been outright brutal to cannabis firms. Shares of Harborside are trading at $1.10, down from a high of $4.18 in mid-June.

Cannabis companies large and small are scrapping mergers, shedding jobs, scaling back on expansion plans, and switching out their CEOs. In this month alone, firms such as Weedmaps and Hexo announced the layoffs of hundreds of employees; and a blockbuster deal between PharmaCann and MedMen was called off.

Harborside held off on plans to acquire two California dispensary companies, Berman told CNN Business earlier this month.

“Given the changing and challenging market conditions, the board believes a new and broader leadership team is necessary to accelerate the growth of the company,” Harborside said in a statement released Monday morning.

Peter Bilodeau, Harborside’s chairman, will serve as interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

Harborside filled out its executive team by promoting Greg Sutton, former vice president of finance, to the role of chief operating officer; and hiring Lisah Poore, a former executive with Dosist and Sephora, as chief retail officer; and Mireille Duclos, a former human resources executive with Nestle and Sears, to lead HR.

Sutton and Duclos will spearhead cost-cutting initiatives, according to Harborside’s announcement.

Harborside executives and Berman could not be immediately reached for comment.

CNN

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