It’s not quite Amalgamated Weed Workers and Cannabis Distillers Local 1, but there will indeed be a union at one of Minnesota’s two new medical marijuana operations.
It’s a first in the state and part of an attempt by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) to unionize the nation’s burgeoning cannabis industry.
South St. Paul-based UFCW Local 1189 has organized Minnesota Medical Solutions, and workers there have ratified their first contract, the union said Friday.
The company has a greenhouse and manufacturing plant in Otsego and plans to have four distribution outlets statewide. UFCW Local 1189 is one of the state’s larger unions, with more than 10,000 members, primarily in the grocery, food processing and health care industries.
Minnesota Medical Solutions signed what’s called a “neutrality” agreement with Local 1189, said local president Don Seaquist, meaning the firm would not conduct an anti-union campaign. LeafLine, the other medical marijuana provider chosen by the state, also has signed a neutrality agreement, he said.
Neither company could be reached for comment. The two firms can begin selling medical marijuana on July 1.
The contract at Minnesota Medical Solutions will cover only a half-dozen workers, Seaquist said. But if the marijuana industry keeps growing nationwide, there could be thousands more jobs created in the coming years.
The UFCW, one of the nation’s biggest unions, has a cannabis and hemp workers division. Its Facebook page is called “Cannabis Workers Rising.”