Medical Marijuana Workers Get Union Backing

By Valerie Tejeda 03/26/12

Medical marijuana workers in California join “Cannabis and Hemp Workers” union to prevent a pot shop ban.

Do cannabis workers deserve union rights
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Joining the ranks of grocery workers, healthcare providers and pharmacists, marijuana dispensary workers in Los Angeles have enlisted the help of a labor union to help ward off a ban on pot shops. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW ) have formed a unit called the “Cannabis and Hemp Workers” division, and 10 medical marijuana dispensaries in the L.A. area have joined. The union president has vowed to use the "full force" of its 35,000 members to keep these shops open. "We want consumers to understand they can go to legitimate operations and safely have access to what they need," said Rick Icaza, head of the LA County Federation of Labor. "We’re going to negotiate good health and welfare and hopefully a pension, and make it a profession rather than thinking people are getting crack from some crack house."  The proposed measure would inhibit businesses from selling marijuana, however seriously ill patients and their caregivers would be allowed to cultivate it. The UFCW has already unionized employees of dispensaries in other parts of California as well as in Colorado.

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix,, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.