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Teamsters, UFCW at Odds on California Pot Distribution

March 30, 2017 
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Sacramento, CA - With California’s legislature trying to set up a system to begin legal adult-use marijuana sales in the state next year, the Teamsters and law enforcement are at odds with business groups and the United Food and Commercial Workers over how cannabis should be distributed.

The Teamsters want a three-level system similar to that used for alcohol, in which manufacturers have to go through a third-party distributor to ship it to retailers. The California Cannabis Industry Association wants growers to be able to sell directly to retailers, a position also backed by various state business groups and the UFCW, which has organized workers in the state’s medical-marijuana industry. “Our experience with alcohol is that the distributors have too much power,” Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Association, told the Sacramento Bee. “They control the flow of the merchandise. They control pricing to some extent.” Barry Broad, a lobbyist for the Teamsters, criticized the business groups, saying they “have never been involved in this marijuana discussion at any stage whatsoever.” Under state regulations enacted in 2015, California’s medical-marijuana system uses third-party distributors. Read more

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