Cannabis dispensary workers at multistate operator Curaleaf’s Edgewater Park, N.J., location voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 360 union, organizers announced Oct. 20.
There are approximately 35 workers at that location, UFCW Local 360 Director of Organizing Hugh Giordano told Cannabis Business Times.
“Votes like this will keep New Jersey’s cannabis economy thriving for years to come. A whole new generation of workers is discovering that labor unions play a critical role in balancing the needs of employees, communities and employers, and they want in,” Giordano said in a Local 360 press release. “And when we take the recent decision to pardon people convicted of ‘simple possession’ into account, it’s clear that the mission of protecting cannabis workers in their workplaces, and establishing a fair and equitable industry that supports family sustaining jobs, is making serious progress.”
Curaleaf’s Edgewater Park dispensary was among 13 retail facilities originally approved by the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission to launch adult-use sales on April 21, but that location remained a medical-only facility for an additional month in order to satisfy local land-use conditions to build a larger parking lot, drainage basins and additional lights.
As of Oct. 24, New Jersey has 19 dispensaries serving both medical patients and adult-use customers, while another nine retail locations remain medical-only facilities, according to the state’s Office of Information Technology.
“Wherever cannabis is legalized, UFCW is committed to building a successful, responsible industry,” Sam Ferraino Jr., UFCW Local 360’s president, said in the release. “Every vote to unionize is workers saying they want to be part of something special and they are in it for the long-haul. The most successful employers will be those that hear this message and embrace its implications.”
Outside of New Jersey, cannabis workers from at least three Curaleaf dispensaries in Illinois—Skokie, Mokena and Worth—have joined the UFCW Local 881. And retail workers at Curaleaf’s dispensary in Hanover, Mass., joined the UFCW Local 328 last year.
UFCW represents tens of thousands of cannabis workers across the U.S. in dispensaries, labs, delivery, kitchens, manufacturing, processing, grow facilities and more, according to the Local 360 release.