GTI Illinois employee complains about product theft to state, they and four managers get fired

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GTI’s Rise dispensary in Niles, Illinois.

A Green Thumb Industries employee alleged to the Illinois State Police and state cannabis regulators that GTI managers stole cannabis product and cash for personal use in summer 2020, and then directed him to cover up the theft in the state-mandated compliance system, BioTrack. After reporting the issue to GTI human resources in December, the employee was summarily fired. Last month, four retail managers, including the Illinois Regional Director, who were all named in the fired employee’s statement to State Police, were announced terminated by GTI Vice President of Retail Field Operations, Tim Hawkins.

Asked for comment, an Illinois State Police spokesperson confirmed they had received the allegations and conducted an investigation, but no criminal charges were filed. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the state agency responsible for dispensary oversight, would not confirm the statement was received. 

“Complaints filed with and investigations undertaken by IDFPR are confidential, unless and until a public complaint or discipline is issued by the Department. No public complaints or disciplines have been issued to the managers at the GTI Niles dispensary,” said an IDFPR spokesperson.

Failure to report cannabis product theft to state regulators is a violation of Illinois state regulations. Cannabis companies are required to track every product unit from “seed-to-sale” in an expensive, complicated state-mandated tracking system, BioTrack. Violation of the regulations can result in criminal charges for an individual and up to a $10,000 fine for an organization for each violation.

According to state authorities, the issues raised by the fired employee’s written complaint were not considered violations. Yet, GTI took steps to fire four levels of managers, including an assistant general manager, a general manager, a retail operations manager and the company’s Illinois district director.

The signed statement to state police and regulators, obtained by Grown In, says an employee was knowingly allowed to take cannabis product and cash from GTI’s Niles store’s registers. The district director was alerted of the problem, and took no action other than to move the Niles manager, according to the statement. Months later, in November, when the stolen product, illegally marked as unsold by GTI managers, was to be destroyed, the complaining employee was directed by the Niles store general manager to mark the missing product as complementary.

On December 22, 2020, after reporting the problem to GTI human resources, the employee was fired by GTI. Two days later he sent his statement to the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the state agency responsible for dispensary oversight. 

On February 17, Hawkins announced the termination of four GTI managers tied to the Niles dispensary.

“We don’t comment on specific personnel issues,” said GTI vice president for corporate communications, Linda Marsicano. “I can add that Green Thumb takes compliance very seriously and requires its team to partake in comprehensive, ongoing training programs.”