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Should the Cannabis Industry Be Unionized?

Should the Marijuana Industry Be Unionized?

The number of employees in the cannabis industry is growing rapidly, leaving some to ask, should the marijuana industry be unionized? The cannabis industry in mid-2018 employed nearly 160,000 full-time. A research group estimates there will be as many as 500,000 jobs by 2022.

A union can help fight for worker's interests, especially in such a volatile and uncertain industry that's not legal federally. Let's look at how labor unions benefit marijuana industry workers.

Cannabis Industry Workers

There are many different kinds of jobs in the marijuana industry. Some start from entry level such as the trimmer at a grow operation or the budtender in a local dispensary to the master cannabis grower in a large company. Because there are such a range of skills, pay ranges and other variances, and the industry is still illegal federally, there's more interest in unionizing cannabis workers.

Unionized workers have a collective voice in:

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  • Negotiating for more pay
  • Creating collective bargaining power
  • Increasing opportunities for additional training
  • Increasing security for their jobs
  • Advocating for improved working conditions
  • Providing workers with ancillary services
  • Lobbying with lawmakers on behalf of marijuana industry workers

Three unions serving the cannabis industry are United Farm Workers, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store and Teamsters.

Decline in Number of Unions

Labor unions have been on a steady decline since the early 1980s. Many are hoping that changes with the growth of the marijuana industry. There are different reasons for the decline, but it is possible that the industry growth might give labor unions a boost in their membership. Labor unions charge a membership fee to members who want to feel represented in the workplace. With the decline of union membership, the objective is to look for growing industries such as the marijuana industry to help employees carry out negotiations with employers.

Final Thoughts

Membership in labor unions plays an integral role in various industries. Marijuana industry workers who are threatened by federal prosecution stand to benefit greatly. Unions also seek cannabis reform and advocacy at the federal level, benefitting marijuana users and patients as well as workers.

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To learn more about labor unions and the marijuana industry, get your cannabis business training today! Have your marijuana business and employees certified so they can demonstrate they are as knowledgeable as possible on all facets of the marijuana industry. Discounts are available for cannabis businesses with 25 and more employees.

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