Calypso Enterprises laid off 55 workers at its Erie medical marijuana grow and processing facility, the company confirmed to Erie News Now in a statement Friday.

The layoffs, which impact 75 percent of the employees, are effective immediately.

"I'm very disappointed. We had heard things weren't going very well. We had been trying for about the last year to try and help them out with some legislation i had introduced," State Rep. Pat Harkins, a supporter of medical marijuana, told Erie News Now. 

Harkins says local growers are suffering because dispensaries are outsourcing their product from elsewhere. "It comes down to an out of state group of growers trying to dominate the market, and obviously, we see today they're forcing out our local growers. We've got to do something to help them out in the long run," he said.

The company blamed "a number of precipitating events" which require the reductions.

Calypso is among a small number of independent permit holders in the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program, and it had seen significant market pressure as result, causing it to scale back operations from August 2021, the company said.

State Senator Dan Laughlin, also a supporter of medical marijuana, told Erie News Now in a statement, "The layoffs today that took place are because of a lack of oversight from the Pennsylvania Department of Health." Laughlin goes on to say through the permitting process, the department of health has allowed integration, essentially forcing out competition. 

Independent operator Hanging Gardens also cut its staff three weeks ago for similar reasons, according to Calypso.

The company is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the state legislature to seek "equitable relief," the statement said.

"With these bigger corporations, they come in and control and dominate the area. We've got to break that down and look out for our local employees and a local company that's trying to do their best to provide a good service, a good product, and employee people who are our neighbors," said Harkins.