San Jose is home to the first unionized pot shop in the South Bay

Union membership at San Jose cannabis dispensary means that employees can benefit from two weeks vacation, a salary that is $3 higher than California's minimum wage and they can even indulge in a 40 percent discount on products sold inside the store

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Medmen has secured a partnership with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 Union to unionize a San Jose cannabis dispensary. Previously, MedMen partnered with UFCW Local 770 to represent its Los Angeles-based employees.

However, this is the first time that a licensed dispensary has become unionized in the South Bay Area, where the announcement was made at San Jose City Hall last month.

“(MedMen) has decided that partnering with unions is the way best way to shape the industry moving forward,” said UFCW Strategic Campaign Director, Jim Araby. “Point to another private sector industry that a potentially big player in an emerging market has decided that it’s better to partner with labor than to fight it.”

Currently, cannabis retailer MedMen boasts operations spanning across various weed-friendly locations in the U.S., including Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York.

Fully paid health benefits available to employees at San Jose’s unionized cannabis dispensary

San Jose’s unionized cannabis dispensary, which is located at 1075 N 10th St. in San Jose, will see employees working 40 hours per week on a full-time basis, with part-time employees clocking 20 hours per week.

What’s more, each individual who works at the cannabis dispensary will be eligible to receive fully paid health benefits, regardless of whether they work full time or part-time. 

Union membership at San Jose cannabis dispensary means that employees can benefit from two weeks vacation, a pay rate that is $3 higher than California’s minimum wage and they can even indulge in a 40 percent discount on products sold inside the store. 

Additionally, employees who work overtime will have the opportunity to earn more money, in addition to receiving time-and-a-half when they work on a holiday. Let’s not forget about the fact that they would also be granted time off for 10 separate recognized holidays, too.

While many employees are jumping for joy at the news, the truth is that this deal made between San Jose’s cannabis dispensary and MedMen is actually required as per state law; the 2017 Medicinal and Adult Use of Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act necessitates labor peace agreements for companies in the cannabis space that employee 20 or more individuals.

“While the cannabis industry is taking a turn from infancy to a billion dollar business in California, I’m happy to see that our workers will be sharing in that process,” said council member Magdalena Carrasco. “We’re delivering on a promise made to our voters, that those employees would be under labor peace agreements.”

Raul Peralez is another council member who agrees with Carrasco’s views on the subject. He believes that the city of San Jose’s workforce needs to be represented ethically and responsibly.

“With this collective bargaining agreement, MedMen demonstrates a responsibility toward their workers, ensuring they can earn livable wages, have access to benefits and have representation through unionization,” said Peralez.

San Jose’s unionized cannabis dispensary will ensure employees can earn decent wages

UFCW’s strategic campaign director says that the bargaining agreement between Redmond and San Jose cannabis dispensary would employees stop being treated disproportionately, regardless of their role in the industry.

He made a point of noting that unions, such as this one, can contribute to the fight for equality that San Jose’s residents have long been battling to accomplish. 

UFCW will assist low-level drug offenders in being a part of California’s legal weed industry, such as by expunging convictions for selling the plant illegally, as well as by providing the essential capital required to start a business in the industry.