February 26, 2013
UFCW members in the medical cannabis industry from Locals 5 and 770, along with medical cannabis staff from UFCW Locals 7 and 881, gathered in Washington, D.C., to share ideas with other medical cannabis activists at the first National Unity Cannabis Conference.
The conference featured medical and legal experts, elected officials, as well as seasoned advocates from the U.S. and overseas. It was an opportunity for UFCW members to discuss Labor’s role in the medical cannabis industry and how to develop strategies that protect the interests of workers as the industry continues to grow.
Today, 18 states and the District of Columbia allow legal access to medical marijuana for over one million Americans whose doctors have recommended it. In those states, UFCW members work in accordance with state laws to provide safe access to medical treatment for qualifying patients.
UFCW members ended the conference on Monday with lobby visits on Capitol Hill to educate their representatives in Congress about the impact of the conflict between state and federal medical laws on workers’ job security. They also urged the representatives to support proposed legislations HR 710 and HR 689 designed to provide for the rescheduling of medical marijuana and for an affirmative defense for the medical use of medical marijuana.
“The conference was very helpful to us,” said Jeff Jones, a UFCW Local 5 member who works at the Patient ID Center in Oakland, Calif. “UFCW members have a lot of work to do to educate Congress about the challenges that we face as workers in the medical marijuana industry.”
“Our goal is to give them the dignity that their sincerity deserves,” said Dan Rush, director of the medical cannabis and hemp division of the UFCW, in regards to workers in the medical cannabis industry. He added, as noted in a Bloomberg article, that “this is a growth industry, and people are looking for jobs.”