With the cannabis industry’s growth into a multi-billion dollar industry, employing about 321,000 individuals, comes the intensification of focus from unions viewing the industry as a large growth opportunity.  Much of the union organizing to date has been led by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which launched a cannabis organizing campaign in 2011.

Since October 2020, efforts to unionize workers in the cannabis industry kicked into overdrive.  Ten cannabis facility workers voted to unionize in those five months throughout the country in Rhode Island, California, DC, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois.

This past month in Chicago, 40 employees at Sunnyside Cannabis Dispensary in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood became the first dispensary workers in Illinois to ratify a union contract. Additionally the state’s first cannabis union contract was ratified in December by more than 180 workers at the Cresco Labs cultivation center in Joliet.


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