The 4th annual New West Summit kicked off today amid the chaos of an intense Marriott employee strike. Picketers marched outside the Oakland City Center Marriott—demanding that the world’s largest hotel chain share more of its enormous wealth. As of this morning nearly 8,000 Marriott workers including housekeepers, bartenders and other service staff are striking at 23 hotels in eight major US cities including Boston, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Maui, and Oahu—according to Unite Here.
Stuff Stoners Like are media sponsors of the 4th annual New West Summit. It’s one of our favorite local cannabis industry conferences. We’ve been looking forward to the event, hanging with friends and making new connections. However as much as we REALLY want to support Jim McAlpine and the New West Summit including it’s incredible panel of speakers, vendors and others we just can’t cross that picket line.
According to a Vox post this morning the low wages paid to Marriott servers, housekeepers and the like “make it impossible to live in some of the nation’s most expensive cities.” So their employees are seeking higher wages. They’re also asking the company to improve employment conditions by easing strenuous workloads “that often lead to injuries, and for more protection against sexual harassment and violence,” reports Vox.
Over the last hundred years or so the people who have kept the marijuana legalization dream alive by cultivating and selling an illegal plant have always had to put up with shitty working conditions. They still do. Actually anybody who’s ever enjoyed weed—since the dawn of marijuana prohibition—has had to tolerate shitty conditions. So we can empathize with marginalized Marriott staff who are fighting a mega corporation that raked in more than $22 billion in revenue last year and gave nothing back to its employees. And we can support Marriot’s striking workforce by not stepping across their picket line and stepping on laborers worldwide.
Fuck McCarthyism—we’re not judging anyone who crossed the line. Everybody’s got to make their own choices. And sure the cannabis industry here in California is a current mess. Nobody can get a license, family farms and mom and pop operations are getting pushed out. Have’s are snitching on have not’s. And the black market or as we like to call it “the traditional market” (aka family farms, mom and pop ops, the have nots) is under a greater threat now than ever before.
But we hope to see a flourishing cannabis industry someday. One that provides a living wage, safe conditions, as well as dignity and respect for its workers. And one of they ways that we think we can make this happen is by standing in solidarity with Marriott picketers today and with workers worldwide everyday.