Why the Pot Business Needs Unions to Survive

Quick, name the one interest group that would love the most to partner with marijuana distributors! Did you say snack food companies? The Comedy Central network? Well, you would be wrong, fictional straw man who obviously doesn’t read article headlines before reading them. It’s labor unions! And it has been a great match, so far.

Since the beginning of legal marijuana shops, the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) has been recruiting the workers of the cannabis industry. The UFCW already has 3,000 of those workers in their ranks, and expects that number to expand rapidly. This union, the largest retail union in the country, has quietly been behind every big push for state marijuana legalization.

Though the image of straight-laced hard-working blue-collar labor collaborating with hippy stoners doesn’t quite seem to match up, it is actually a match made in heaven. Labor union memberships have been flagging for some time, and they are in desperate need of a growth industry to latch on to. Meanwhile, marijuana dispensaries have both a branding problem (lacking legitimacy) and a lobbying problem (inability to organize), both of which unions can be of great help.

Another seemingly contradictory aspect of this situation is that labor is courting business owners, as opposed to fighting them. The simple explanation is that unions need new blood, and marijuana dispensaries are a fairly easy industry to work with. True to their hippy stereotype, trust-busting is not really something most dispensary owners are all that interested in. Plus, hundreds of thousands of new (labor) jobs, and billions of dollars, could be added to this industry in the next decade if legalization continues to reach new states and the federal government gives in on the issue. That’s a lot of new union dues to collect.

It is worth noting that not every marijuana dispensary is behind this collaboration. Colorado’s shops tend to match the entrepreneurial and individual spirit of the state. Their pot distributors tend to be more libertarian in nature, and often reject the UFCW out of concerns about their fragile financial situation.

– Read the entire article at PolicyMic.

Comments

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    On one hand unions may appear appealing, but cause and causality disagree with this.
    Unions cause uncontrollable inflation.While they appear to protect the interests and working conditions of laborers, they in fact are a business lining their pockets with dues from those they are able to please with more and higher wages. For instance a union job may pay twice what the same job, non union pays while having the same or close benefits. When you add related unions like those involved with shipping or raw material production it is easy to double or triple the price of the final product. FOR NO GOOD REASON other than greed and sustaining an industry that produces nothing and adds no value to anyones life except members at the expense of non members.
    “Unions”; adding to the cost of goods and services for all. Which hit non union members the hardest as they don’t receive undeserved extra pay.
    The final point is to grow unions to include everyone in order to grow the union as a business while disrupting the economy with artificially inflated prices.
    No, unions are not a good idea the same way syphilis is not a good idea.

  2. Anonymous on

    On one hand unions may appear appealing, but cause and causality disagree with this.
    Unions cause uncontrollable inflation.While they appear to protect the interests and working conditions of laborers, they in fact are a business lining their pockets with dues from those they are able to please with more and higher wages. For instance a union job may pay twice what the same job, non union pays while having the same or close benefits. When you add related unions like those involved with shipping or raw material production it is easy to double or triple the price of the final product. FOR NO GOOD REASON other than greed and sustaining an industry that produces nothing and adds no value to anyones life except members at the expense of non members.
    “Unions”; adding to the cost of goods and services for all. Which hit non union members the hardest as they don’t receive undeserved extra pay.
    The final point is to grow unions to include everyone in order to grow the union as a business while disrupting the economy with artificially inflated prices.
    No, unions are not a good idea the same way syphilis is not a good idea.