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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 19, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 34
Look for the union label&when you buy weed
Section One
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Look for the union label&when you buy weed

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) is revolutionizing the recreational cannabis industry.

The union - which represents 1.4 million retail, food, food processing, and health workers - announced on August 15 that two lines of cannabis products will carry the union label, indicating that the goods were made by UFCW-represented workers.

Tacoma-based UFCW Local 367 now represents workers at Perma Cannabis, and the union label will appear on Perma's AK-47 and Gorilla Glu lines.

Perma products are available through six retailers with locations in Tacoma, Buckley, Covington, Lacey, Lynnwood, and Woodinville.

'This label will help customers choose a quality product that is made by my hard-working co-workers with the quality of jobs we want in the state,' said Janie Wallace, one of the UFCW processors at Perma.

'My grandfather was a longshoreman, and I'm proud to continue in the UFCW family in this emerging industry.'

'This represents the first recreational cannabis processor in the country' to have a union contract, said Local 367 communications director Nathe Lawver.

'The workers who made this product for the most part have better wages and better benefits than other folks in the industry.'

While Perma is the first processor to unionize, Lawver said his local is working to organize at least 15 other firms.

UFCW plans to organize workers who are involved in the industry 'from seed to sale,' Lawver said, meaning that those working as growers, processors, and retail employees would all be eligible for representation.

'We're the only local in the state to have contracts with workers in the [recreational] cannabis industry,' he added.

UFCW 367 is also organizing retail workers at medical marijuana dispensaries. In June 2015, workers at the Cannabis Club Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary in Tacoma, approved the first-ever union contract for cannabis workers in Washington state.

Other UFCW locals have also been busy organizing medical marijuana workers.

In March, for example, South Coast Safe Access, which employs 22 people in Santa Ana, Calif., signed a labor agreement with UFCW 324. Last year, employees at Minnesota Medical Solutions ratified a contract under the auspices of UFCW 1189.

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