Northern California’s South Bay now has its first cannabis union. Representatives from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) announced on Friday at San Jose City Hall that workers at the town’s MedMen dispensary location would organize.
Employees at the dispensary will enjoy wages that come in at $3 above Californian minimum wage, two weeks of vacation pay, 40 percent employee discounts, and time and a half overtime holiday pay, among other benefits.
As cannabis becomes legal in more and more jurisdictions, advocates and lawmakers are grappling with how to make the industry economically just, especially when it comes to individuals who were penalized under marijuana prohibition by racially biased law enforcement. Labor advocates say that unionization of the cannabis industry is one way to ensure that social equity for workers is not forgotten in the Green Rush.
“I think there’s a greater responsibility for advocates like us and others to ensure that this happens,” said UFCW strategic campaign director Jim Araby, who gave props to MedMen for its role in the process.
UFCW has been working to represent marijuana workers in California as far back as 2007 and now counts 10,000 cannabis workers union members in 14 states. The