December 30, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Pasadena, CA – Workers at two medical-marijuana dispensaries here have joined the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 770, the union announced Dec. 23.
The two, Golden State Collective and UFD Apothecary, are the first dispensaries the 30,000-member union has organized outside the city of Los Angeles—but both are operating illegally, as Pasadena has prohibited medical-marijuana sales since 2005. “These dispensaries that we’ve organized are two of the oldest operating dispensaries in the city,” said Local 770 organizing director Rigoberto Valdez. “I think the time is now for the medical-marijuana patients, the workers, and the community to come together and figure out what the regulatory scheme is going to be.” If the union can’t persuade the City Council to repeal the ban on dispensaries, it might back a ballot initiative to legalize them, he said. Meanwhile, Local 770 President Rick Icaza said in a statement that with the state codifying its medical-marijuana regulations in 2015 and voting to legalize recreational sales in November, the cannabis industry “is positioned to become the fastest-growing segment of our union. Our victories in Pasadena mark a significant first step toward making that a reality.” Read more