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UFCW Local 770 has been organizing and representing medical cannabis workers employed at law abiding dispensaries throughout the City of Los Angeles since 2011. After successfully defeating a dispensary ban proposed by the Los Angeles City Council, Local 770 spearheaded an initiative ordinance campaign that gathered over 70,000 signatures and led to the overwhelming passage of Proposition D in 2013. The successful Proposition D campaign won majority support in all fifteen Los Angeles Council districts and established limited immunity for dispensaries that complied with its operating requirements.
Local 770’s political advocacy contributed to the successful passage of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act enacted on September 11, 2015. The law creates a comprehensive state licensing system for the commercial cultivation, manufacture, retail sale, transport, distribution, delivery, and testing of medical cannabis. And crucially for cannabis industry workers, licensees must enter into a Labor Peace Agreement with a “bona fide labor organization” that ensures workers can gain a voice at work through a fair process.
With the passage of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) - endorsed by UFCW after securing worker protections, and passed by California voters in November 2016 - the California cannabis industry is poised to triple in size. Time Magazine reported that California’s cannabis market could be valued at $6.46 billion by 2020. With this explosion in the size of the industry comes a tremendous opportunity to grow our union.
Cannabis dispensary workers working under UFCW 770 union contracts enjoy dignity and order at their workplaces in what is still a volatile industry and through their union can ensure the enforcement of basic labor laws and industry standards. Local 770 cannabis members enjoy regular raises, paid time off and a grievance procedure. The contract language improves regulatory standards and defines respect in the workplace.
"My union contract is essential to professionalizing my job at a medical cannabis dispensary," said Jasmine Saucedo, a UFCW Local 770 member who works at LA Wonderland Caregivers. "Our contract provides for guaranteed raises, paid time off, and other benefits that help me feel more secure about the future."
The UFCW represents medical cannabis workers in six states and the District of Columbia. UFCW members in the cannabis industry work predominantly in dispensaries, coffee shops, bakeries, patient identification centers, hydroponics stores, and growing and training facilities. Through crafting and supporting targeted legislative efforts, leading the way in industry coalitions and setting standards for cannabis workers through collective bargaining, the UFCW is where dispensary workers and owners, along with patients and coalition allies, find legislative strength in working for their shared goals.