California has long been at the center of marijuana debates. Now, the state is once again in the national spotlight, this time because a major union added nearly 40 new members who have controversial occupations—medicinal marijuana growers.
The Teamsters added the marijuana growers earlier this month, organizing the first group of unionized marijuana growers in the U.S.
The new members are gardeners, trimmers and cloners for Marjyn Investments LLC, an Oakland business that contracts with medical marijuana patients.
During harvest time, the work can be difficult and growers can work long hours. The workers are not protected by federal labor regulations because the work is banned under federal law.
According to the union, the new members have a 2 year contract that provides them with a pension, paid vacation, and health insurance. In addition, they will receive a pay raise—from $18 an hour to $25.75 an hour—within 15 months.
This is not the first group of workers to be unionized whose job involves medicinal marijuana. In May, workers in Oakland's retail medical marijuana dispensaries joined the United Food and Commercial Workers.