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Support Medical Cannabis Workers

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.

Bid to repeal L.A.'s ban on pot shops may be headed for ballot

A referendum to repeal a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles appears to be headed for the ballot, with pot shop supporters saying Wednesday that they have collected nearly twice the signatures required to force a citywide vote and key City Council members signaling that they won't try to stop it.


UFCW Affirms Support for Access to Medical Cannabis in Small Regulated, Financially Transparent Dispensaries

Statement of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 770 President Rick Icaza:

We continue to support an ordinance that would allow the approximately 100 licensed and regulated dispensaries established before 2007 to continue to operate," said Rick Icaza, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770, the union representing medical cannabis dispensary workers. UFCW represents workers at 40 of Los Angeles' medical cannabis dispensaries, all licensed by the city.

Voters in the state of California overwhelmingly passed proposition 215 to give the sick and disabled access to this useful medicine," continued Icaza. "The city should not try to subvert the will of the voters and deny the sick and infirm relief in order to score political points. We should all work together to reach an agreement which will allow a small number of highly regulated, financially transparent dispensaries to operate in our city.

The motion passed to study ways to allow lawfully licensed pre-2007 dispensaries to continue to distribute medicine is the right approach. It would allow the city to crack down on rogue dispensaries violating laws and creating nuisances while allowing those suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, MS, muscular dystrophy and other painful and debilitating diseases to continue to receive their medicine.

We must act with compassion and guarantee safe access while at the same time enforcing the rule of law. A one size fits all approach denying the sick and infirm their relief is not the answer. As in much in life, if not politics, the answer lies in compromise. We urge the city council to set aside politics and create a real solution, one that preserves the right of the sick to their medicine in a safe and professional dispensary.

L.A.'s reefer madness - L.A. Times

The Los Angeles City Council has decided that leaving medical marijuana dispensaries unregulated and uncontrolled is what is best for L.A. residents. On Tuesday, as reported by The Times, council members voted 14 to 0 to no longer be in the business of ensuring that dispensaries are well run and that patients have safe access to medicine.


Ban medical marijuana? Sure you will ... - L.A. Times

Medical marijuana law is as twisted as the ends of a Canna Sutra spleef, so the Los Angeles City Council aims to act Tuesday to free the City of Angels from all the confusion and make our kids safe from designer cannabis. There's only one problem with the council's foolproof plan, dreamed up by Councilman Jose Huizar and backed by law-and-order City Atty. Carmen Trutanich: It can't possibly work.


Dueling Medical Marijuana Rallies Target City Council Before Tuesday's Dispensary Ban Vote -

Los Angeles City Council members are scheduled to vote on a citywide plan to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in L.A. on Tuesday, and activists on both sides of the battle came out in full force today to make their cases.

Backed by Councilmembers Jose Huizar, Mitchell Englander, Bernard Parks and Jan Perry, the proposed ban would allow primary caregivers and patients to grow and transport marijuana, according to City News Service. Additionally, the measure would permit two to three patients to collectively grow and share cannabis in homes or apartments—not storefronts.