Next battleground for unions: Marijuana

Surprisingly, some business owners welcome organizing efforts by employees.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 7, 2013 9:35AM

Credit: 694880562092
Caption: A worker checking a bar code on a marijuana plant at in Denver, ColoradoThe multibillion-dollar marijuana industry has become a hotbed of union organizing.

According to Reuters, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the largest retail union, has been bombarded with requests from dispensary workers to join since the election. "I can't keep up," Dan Rush, who heads the union's cannabis division, tells the news service.

The stakes couldn't be higher. As CNBC recently pointed out, estimates of the size of the burgeoning marijuana industry range from $10 billion to $120 billion.

The pro-marijuana group NORML calls pot the third-most-popular recreational drug in the U.S., ranking behind alcohol and tobacco. Nearly 100 million people have admitted to partaking. Not surprisingly, union organizers are interested in the industry, which according to one estimate could employ 100,000 people in California alone.

The union's cannabis unit says it uses traditional organizing tactics to bring fair wages and benefits to an industry that "has been operating in the shadows."

Voters in Colorado and Washington decided last year to end all criminal and civil penalties for cannabis use by adults. Eighteen states since 1996 have permitted the medically authorized use of marijuana. 

Surprisingly, some dispensary operators are backing the unionization efforts because they see competitors breaking labor laws and ducking taxes, according to Reuters. But other dispensary owners, like those in many other industries, remain leery of unions.

Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.

More on moneyNOW

Feb 7, 2013 11:41AM

" But other dispensary owners, like those in many other industries, remain leery of unions"

Gee, I wonder why, bahahaaaha, because unions will completely destroy any hope of a successful business.

Feb 7, 2013 12:06PM
Well there goes the price of pot............ I guess the Mexican Drug Cartel has nothing to worry about.
Feb 7, 2013 11:27AM
Feb 7, 2013 1:12PM
"Surprisingly, some business owners welcome organizing efforts by employees", Haha, they must be stoned becausethe labor unions will completely destroy any hope of a successful business.
Feb 7, 2013 12:25PM

this whole thing is like a freight train with no breaks.  strap in an enjoy the ride.


Feb 7, 2013 11:44AM
Now it's time for Florida, one of the most populated states in the country, to legalize recreational use. It's way past time for our Government to reverse it's old world way of thinking. Back in the 1800's this county's infrastructure was built by Chinese, Mexicans and Africans, all high on opium or cannabis. I don't think legalizing it now would bring the world to an end. There will always be the fear mongers. I don't smoke anything, but do believe it ones right to choose yay or nay.
Feb 7, 2013 12:55PM

The great thing is that the country is on the right track.

We need to create this industry for the good of our people and our future generations.

Feb 7, 2013 11:31AM
smoke it if you got it , then tax it 
Feb 7, 2013 2:37PM
Instead of perpetuating a myth, why not do a little research? The cannabis plant is a very useful product and most valuable for industrial purposes like textiles and alternate (bio) fuels just to name a few; that is the main reason it was criminalized in the first place - not because it was a "drug" but was competition for monetarily influential corporations. The US government did a major study back in the 1970's and actually found cannabinol to suppress cancer growth; the government did not get the negative results they were looking for so destroyed their findings.

Hemp is grown commercially in Canada for it's industrial uses, and is a very hardy crop that will grow in conditions others will not, not to mention is quite profitable even when not used in a recreational context. Medicinal uses have great potential as it has been found useful against many afflictions including but not limited to asthma, IBD, migraine, Parkinson's, epilepsy, and BTW has no evidence as a contributing  factor to lung cancer. Considering how many Physicians who prescribe MJ bound by the Hippocratic oath in decriminalized states, it must not be too terrible when providers stand to profit much more prescribing "popular" manufactured drugs that pay kickbacks. No one has Ever died from an OD either, and it is not physically addictive.     
Feb 7, 2013 1:39PM
It's way past time that Marijuana be legalized....for the potential tax revenue alone,  would be incredible.  Hey!  I could relive my frat days of 40 years ago.....THE ROLLERS AGAINST THE SMOKERS...whoopee!!
Feb 7, 2013 2:07PM

Why do we constantly look to government for an okay to live our lives - then the heavy hand of unions - then state and local governments - when all you have to do is grow a little for private use. Wouldn't someone with a brain do that? Embracing responsible personal liberty - what a bizarre concept.

Feb 7, 2013 12:28PM
The owners want the unions to fight the legal battles for them. With Obama in their pocket, they think it will be smooth sailing.
Feb 7, 2013 2:01PM
Will this be the next drug cartel ?  Union/Mob controling the marijuana production in the U.S.  Independent growers' crops fire bombed or "acquired" at harvest ?
Feb 7, 2013 3:34PM
So the imported weed is still gonna be cheaper haha.
Feb 8, 2013 5:16AM
Cannabis is a natural plant. Don't be going against mother natures plants. Theres no need for war for a plant. Just love and peace. 
Tabacco is a waist to a persons brain and you don't get nothing out of it.
Cannabis is not a waist and can be useful to make new resources. I understand you're against it, but this will help out our country. 
Tabacco makes cancer and cancer research is sponsored by tabacco company's. They are trying to fix there problems, but they can't find a solution. 
Cannabis doesn't give cancer by the way.
Feb 8, 2013 11:37AM

 We will end up with a generation sitting on a grubby couch in a grubby federal housing plantation. His only spoken words in years oh wow ??

ps: He votes Democratic and is given a yearly public bus ride to the voting booths.

I guess ultimately He will be receiving free Marijuana from his government. It keeps him beholding to his" looking out for him" progressive brown shirts. (previously known as the Police Dept)


Feigned  high principals of the attack for health reasons on cigarettes. When marijuana is being sucked into the lungs of  the sixty's generation now on medicare and social security.    Perhaps this is a way for their beloved progressive socialist  government to kill them all off and save money.  




Feb 7, 2013 10:37PM

Bring in the unions and watch the price of weed to go into the stratosphere. The criminal element that controls the unions will cause irreparable harm and bring more unnecessary heat on the industry by law enforcement and the government. Consider that the unions were responsible for bringing about the demise of the twinkee. SAVE THE WEED, **** THE UNIONS!

Feb 7, 2013 6:58PM
Hi, pot smokers and union member, what do they have in common, both losers !
Feb 7, 2013 1:58PM

Brings to mind the SNL skit....." So always look for, the Union abel, when you are buying a joint., lid or pound.

                                                          We know we work hard, but who's complaining...................................I need help with the rest...




   something about the best job around. ?????


Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

Trending NOW

What’s this?


[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More