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Curaleaf’s Games with New Jersey Cannabis Workers

The local branch of the Multi-State Operator (MSO) cannabis corporation Curaleaf NJ was forced to recognize union workers but then laid other New Jersey cannabis workers off.

Curaleaf NJ Layoffs

Recently Curaleaf NJ fired 49 cannabis workers at their Winslow production facility in Camden County. It claimed the market is too small to merit them employing them.

The problem is their mediocre cannabis is not worth buying. The underground legacy market produces far better cannabis for a better price.

Curaleaf NJ still has 150 plus New Jersey cannabis workers there in Winslow and about 400 in the state given their vertically integrated cannabis license, which allows them to grow, manufacture, distribute, wholesale, and retail New Jersey medical and adult use recreational cannabis in three locations.

There are currently 43 New Jersey medical cannabis and 32 NJ adult use cannabis dispensaries open. Unfortunately, the cannabis product remains very limited.

Curaleaf NJ claimed laid-off New Jersey cannabis workers will be offered a severance package that includes a continuation of salary and benefits based on years of service. They might also allow them to interview for other jobs in the company.

They are one of the largest MSOs with 152 dispensaries and 19 states. Curaleaf wants to go international and control the nascent European cannabis market as well.

Unionizing New Jersey Cannabis Workers

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 360 announced all of Curaleaf NJ’s cannabis workers have become members of the UFCW.

They have been working hard to unionize the Curaleaf NJ cannabis workers at all its locations.

Curaleaf NJ’s Bordentown Township dispensary New Jersey cannabis workers were the last to vote for joining the union. They have 50 New Jersey cannabis workers employed there.

The company’s retail locations in Edgewater, Bellmawr, and Bordentown Township serve Medical and Adult-Use clients.

“This type of direct organizing will keep New Jersey’s cannabis economy thriving for years. From small micro-license holders to large multi-state operators, there’s growing recognition that unions create a better balance between the needs of employees, communities, and employers, and people want in,” said UFCW Local 360 Organizing Director Hugh Giordano. “The best employers also understand that a collaborative relationship with labor unions strengthens their business and boosts opportunities for sustainable success.”

“The best employers also understand that a collaborative relationship with labor unions strengthens their business and boosts opportunities for sustainable success,” he added.

Fighting for New Jersey Budtenders

Curaleaf NJ claims to be a company of leaders, community members, and responsible employers on its website.

Giordano said New Jersey cannabis workers at the three Curaleaf NJ dispensaries where the retail clerks are known as budtenders have indeed exhibited leadership qualities in choosing a legitimate union like the UFCW.

“Every Curaleaf employee in the state is joining the UFCW,” said UFCW Local 360 President Sam Ferraino, Jr. “We’ll continue to crisscross the state. Visiting every location of every company. To help employees exercise their rights and to highlight the growing danger of fake company unions. A vote to unionize is a vote to be part of something special for the long haul.”

The UFCW likes to emphasize they are the AFL-CIO’s official labor union of cannabis workers.

The Brotherhood of Teamsters run by Jimmy Hoffa and Jimmy Hoffa Jr. is organizing cannabis workers in other state markets.

The Teamsters are not part of the AFL-CIO though.

“Illegitimate unions corrupt that desire and weaken worker protections,” Ferraino asserted.

Curaleaf NJ Games

In April, Curaleaf, NJ was briefly denied renewal of its annual New Jersey adult use recreational cannabis license. It was due to labor issues.

In March, Curaleaf NJ fired 40 New Jersey cannabis workers at its cultivation facility.

Sources said they previously laid off New Jersey cannabis workers who wanted to unionize.

They were not interested in recognizing their New Jersey cannabis workers as members of the UFCW.

NJ-CRC Commissioner Krista Nash, who is close to the UFCW through South Jersey Democratic connections, criticized their labor policies. She persuaded the reset of the NJ-CRC to deny their renewal.

That set off a great panic. Thus they launched a public relations campaign. Their high-end lawyers and lobbyists were paid to persuade the powers that be. Thus the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) reinstated it shortly afterward.

Shady Corporate Games

Curaleaf was found to have ties to the wealthy, shady Russian oligarchs. They benefit from and support the brutal regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the wake of his invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden suspended trade between Russia and the United States and severed business ties.

He also endorsed a limited and highly regulated cannabis market. Few other cannabis companies would then compete with them for market share.

It’s the only way a corporation with mediocre products and high prices can survive.

That is likely why they decided to exit the competitive state cannabis markets of California, Colorado, and Oregon.

In the same way, Thomas Edison launched the film industry in West Orange, NJ, and tried to control it. But he exited the industry when the competition got too tough and fought their legal and political maneuvering.

Cannabis grown by Curaleaf NJ and sold by GTI Rise that made a New Jersey medical cannabis patient sick. Heady NJ’s investigative reporting led to a recall.

Heady NJ was proud to partner with the UFCW for our January forum, Working in South Jersey Cannabis.

Jay Sabin of the noted cannabis law firm Brach Eichler believes Curaleaf had to bow to the political pressure exerted by the NJ-CRC and the Commissioners and others to retain their New Jersey adult use cannabis license.

PS: On August 19th I will be moderating a panel at another community forum the UFCW is holding!

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