Canopy Growth fires founder and CEO Bruce Linton
We just posted recently that Canopy Growth was, well, growing a lot lately, but it looks like that wasn’t good enough for some of the company’s directors. Founder and co-CEO Bruce Linton has been abruptly fired at one of Canada’s biggest cannabis companies. Linton was performing CEO duties along with Mark Zekulin, but allegedly, some of the directors on the board (installed by Constellation Brands, a beer import company that clearly has a strong interest in the cannabis industry) decided that he needed to go for the company to continue forward. Linton says in a statement that he agreed with the decision, and the company says that Zekulin will likely be replaced with a permanent hire, once that person is found.
It seems like quite a shakeup, but Linton has appeared on CNN talking about the news and says he’s still got “full confidence” in the team. The Motley Fool says that while the company is growing, Linton probably wasn’t the best choice to lead it into the future, and that while moves like the purchase of Acreage Holdings could end up being beneficial, they’re also risky (the Acreage acquisition basically requires the US to legalize soon, while likely, that’s not guaranteed at all). Linton also apparently said on CNN that he knew the Constellation Brands deal might result in his firing, but that the deal was more important for the company than his own position.
Still, it’s hard not to see this as one of the biggest cannabis companies in the world pivoting away from its roots and towards a more corporate future. Linton will be fine — he’s already working with another company, whose shirt he wore on the CNN interview — but the alcohol industry just claimed a big piece of the emerging cannabis industry, and for those who want cannabis to stand on its own and carve a new path rather than falling into the old patterns of sales and distribution, that might be cause for concern.