April 28, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Sacramento, CA – A 27-year-old manager at the River City Phoenix medical-cannabis dispensary on Sacramento’s north side has become California’s first official cannabis pharmacy technician, thanks to an apprenticeship program spearheaded by the United Food and Commercial Workers.
Shayna Schonauer, who began working as a “budtender” in 2012, got her journeyman certificate from the state Apprenticeship Council in March, after she completed 2,000 hours of training on safety, packaging, patient verification, and best business practices. “This is an exciting time,” Jeff Ferro, director of the UFCW’s’ Cannabis Workers Rising campaign, told the Los Angeles Times. He is working with schools including City College of San Francisco to create an apprenticeship curriculum that would cover the industry “from seed to sale.” “I’m hoping this program will put some sort of standard into our industry, which we don’t have yet,” Schonauer said. River City, which has 100 workers, is the largest unionized dispensary in the state. Co-owner David Spradling said that as medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law, he invited the union in “because I wanted to solidify my staff wages and benefits, so if I was arrested or had to sell, the people I employed would be secure.” Read more