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UFCW: Senate Cannabis Bill Important First Step, Must Do More to Put American Cannabis Workers First, Strengthen Economic Opportunity and Safety Across Industry

July 14, 2021

Local 770 Cannabis Worker

America’s Largest Cannabis Workers Union Calls Plan Important First Step, Urges Lawmakers to Build on Framework to Deliver Bipartisan Bill to Create Good Jobs, Expand Economic Opportunity as Industry Continues to Grow

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International, which is America’s largest cannabis workers union with more than 10,000 cannabis workers represented nationwide, welcomed the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act discussion draft unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Cory Booker (New Jersey) and Ron Wyden (Oregon). UFCW called the move an important first step to modernize federal cannabis regulations, but went on to say that more must be done to help create an even playing field so more states and communities can tap the economic potential of the industry, which supports 321,000 American jobs across the country.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement: 

“America’s cannabis workers proudly serve their communities every day, helping patients across the country get the care they need and powering the economic growth that so many states are achieving as they modernize the current laws on the books. 

“Today’s new cannabis legalization plan from Senators Schumer, Wyden, and Booker is an important first step, but more must be done to address the challenges cannabis workers face and the need to make sure the industry supports good-paying union jobs our families need.

“Cannabis worker safety and apprenticeships must be a top priority and any federal legislation needs to dedicate funding to further research for these priorities. Congress must also ensure this cannabis legislation respects current state laws while also preventing the industry from moving high-wage union jobs from one state to low wage agricultural jobs in another state.

“As America’s largest cannabis workers union, UFCW welcomes this new proposal and urges members of Congress – both Republicans and Democrats – to build on this framework and pass a strong bipartisan bill that establishes a national cannabis policy that ends outdated approaches holding so many communities back. Now is the time for Congress to embraces the economic potential of this industry and act to create the millions of good American jobs our families need.”

BACKGROUND:

UFCW is America’s largest cannabis workers union, representing over 10,000 cannabis workers nationwide. With many states and cities continuing to embrace the good-paying jobs that the cannabis industry can create, many more cannabis workers are unionizing with UFCW.

UFCW welcomed the new Senate cannabis proposal as an important first step, praising the provisions to deschedule cannabis, expanding banking access for cannabis businesses, and outlining a framework to address restorative justice measures. UFCW urged both Republicans and Democrats to work together to expand the framework to include provisions that strengthen jobs and protections for current cannabis workers, address issues with current licensing requirements, and increase research funding to support worker safety and apprenticeships in the industry.

As the nation’s largest cannabis workers union, UFCW has played a leading role in advancing state legislation to help create good-paying cannabis jobs across the country, including recently approved cannabis bills in Connecticut, New York, New Mexico, and Virginia, with Rhode Island also expected to pass recreational cannabis laws soon.

UFCW cannabis worker victories have been secured at a wide range of companies across the industry, including at Union Harvest and Nature’s Root Labs in Colorado, Windy City Cannabis in Illinois, Sira Naturals in Massachusetts, Perfect Union in California, Greenleaf in Rhode Island,Sunnyside (Cresco Labs) in New York, Garden State Dispensary in New Jersey, Vireo Health in Maryland, and DC Holistic Wellness in Washington, D.C.

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UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States. UFCW International represents 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.