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UFCW Local 360 Helps NJ Cannabis Workers Unionize for Better Working Conditions

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 360 labor union announced employees at 2 NJ weed dispensaries joined the ranks. Workers at Columbia Care and the Botanist cannabis shops voted to join the UFCW Local 360 cannabis labor union.

Employees at Columbia Care’s Cannabist dispensary in Deptford in Gloucester County sent a petition to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The worker petition actually led to the recent successful vote to organize and join UFCW 360.

Workers at both companies, Botanist and Columbia Care, said they organized to ensure they are working under protected rights and with safe conditions. They acknowledged the fast-growing cannabis industry continues to evolve and expand.

Union affiliation also gives employees an important voice in setting and implementing operating and management standards.

“Across the cannabis industry, a new generation of workers is discovering that labor unions play a critical role in properly balancing the needs of employees, local communities, and employers,” said UFCW Local 360 President Sam Ferraino, Jr.

Columbia Care’s Cannabist dispensary in Deptford is the company’s first American location to unionize. Columbia Care currently carries active licenses in 18 states. The company bills itself as one of the largest and most experienced growers and manufacturers. They also claim to be among the top producers of pot products in the nation.

“Workers tell their employers they are committed to high operating standards, long-term growth, and also success. A diverse and skilled workforce also supported by good working conditions,” Ferraino added.

In March 2022, Cresco Labs announced an agreement of the takeover. Cresco Labs completed the acquisition before the end of the year. This cannabis industry merger will create the largest Multi-State Operator (MSO) cannabis corporation in the United States.

Unionizing Cannabis Dispensaries Peacefully

In contrast to Columbia Cate, The Botanist agreed to a state-required Labor Peace Agreement (LPA). It allows employees to organize directly with the UFCW. They also maintained a neutral position throughout the organizing and voting process.

New Jersey has incentivized LPAs in the cannabis licensing process to enhance the standard of living of weed workers.

The Botanist, a brand of Acreage Holdings, operates both medical and adult-use cannabis dispensaries. It has 17 dispensary locations spread across five states. That includes its New Jersey locations in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic City, and Williamstown.

“UFCW is committed to building a successful, responsible industry,” UFCW Local 360 Director of Organizing Hugh Giordano said. “Every vote to unionize represents workers saying they want to be part of something special and they are here for the long haul. The most successful employers will also hear this message and further embrace its implications.”

Workers at Verano Zen Leaf, Ayr’s Garden State Dispensary, GTI Rise, Ascend, and Justice Grown have also organized with the UFCW.

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