Medical marijuana workers here in Oakland, in a historic attempt to bring legitimacy to California’s massive medical marijuana trade, have began to unionize! About 100 workers from three local weed businesses around town have joined the 26,000-member-strong Local 5 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, school and union under what’s being considered the first time in our nation’s history workers in the weed industry have joined a union.
“They want the community to understand them as decent, hard-working people,” said Oakland resident Dan Rush, who oversees special operations for San Jose’s United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 5.
Unionizing, already 100 marijuana workers have joined, could not only help remove the stigma associated with the marijuana culture, provide political protection in numbers and coax the opposition into reconsidering their stance, it could also greatly amplify support for the upcoming Tax and Regulate ballot initiative, which looks to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for all adults 21 and up, that California voters will face in November.
“It does help further legitimize the notion of legalizing and taxing cannabis,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center. “Local 5 is a very large and highly respected union. This reflects a change about attitudes about cannabis in this state – and the recognition of the economic realities that California is facing.”
But even more important than simply protecting workers, breaking down stereotypes and building more rolling thunder for the legalization movement is that unionizing will create thousands of much needed new jobs, with benefits and pension plans, all over California from bud-tenders, to growers, to processors, to security personnel, allowing more and more Californian’s to finally and legally enjoy a much-deserved fruitful living from California’s biggest and best cash crop!
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