Home > Uncategorized > UFCW Stands With Medical Cannabis Retail Workers

UFCW Stands With Medical Cannabis Retail Workers

Demands an End to U.S. Attorney’s Misguided Enforcement Action

[Press Release] (Washington, D.C.) – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the nation’s largest retail worker organization, demands an immediate end to the U.S. Attorney’s misguided prosecution of operators of small dispensaries of legal medical cannabis in California.

In the past year, thousands of hardworking and taxpaying medical cannabis industry workers have joined together with the UFCW in various states in order to protect their jobs in this emerging industry.   In today’s economy, hourly wage jobs like these that pay good wages with decent benefits are vital to keeping our economy afloat and families out of poverty.

At a time when the unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent, our economy requires bold action from our government to create good family-sustaining jobs. The steps taken by the four California U.S. attorneys to send letters Wednesday and Thursday notifying at least 16 medical dispensaries and their landlords that they are violating federal drug laws would do just the opposite.

“I have a good middle class American Job with good health benefits and a pension that I can look forward to,” said Larry Richards, a UFCW Local 5 member and a manager at the Blue Sky Dispensary in Oakland, California. “Because of our industry and our union I am able to be a productive breadwinner and, as a person living with HIV since 1983, I have fought and struggled not to be a drain on society. I want to work, I want to be productive but now, they want to take my job and put me back on the rolls of Social Security.”

UFCW proudly stands with our members in the Humboldt Growers Association, the Citizens for Safer Neighborhoods Committee of Colorado, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, and our coalition partners in MendoGrown, the Patients Care Alliance, the National Cannabis Industry Association, and the Citizens Coalition for Patient Care.

Medical cannabis is a safe and effective treatment option for many serious medical conditions including cancer, and patients should not be forced to purchase their medicine from criminals, drug dealers, and thugs.  If the federal government closes commercial dispensaries and collectives in California, patients will have no safe access to their medication.  In addition, thousands of workers will be forced from their jobs in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

UFCW and our members are dedicated to a dignified, controlled, taxed, regulated, compliant, unionized medical cannabis industry.  We stand in solidarity with the workers and patients of the unionized medical cannabis industry.


United Food and Commercial Workers Union represents over 1.3 million workers in the United States and Canada, and is one of the largest private sector unions in North America. UFCW members work in a wide range of industries, including retail food, food processing, agriculture, retail sales, health care, manufacturing, and medical cannabis.

  1. October 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    How about that Barack Obama vote now?

  2. Plain Jane
    October 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    As opposed to….?

  3. huufc
    October 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Heaven forbid that the federal law enforcement agencies apply the law. What would become of us as a nation if we operated by the rule of law?

  4. October 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Heaven forbid that the federal law enforcement agencies apply the law. What would become of us as a nation if we operated by the rule of law? 2:09


    A lot of banksters, media-moguls and ‘restorationists’ would end in jail.
    My guess.

  5. pot math
    October 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Federal marijuana crackdown budget = $2 billion

    California medical marijuana market = $1 billion

    Average DEA agent yearly salary = $41,000

    Average budtender yearly wages = $25,000

  6. Anonymous
    October 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Well a budtender I know gets 80k tax free a year. A transporter made 77k last haul.

    Bullshit on this.

  7. Anonymous
    October 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Hate to see such a big deal made about a drug that people use as a crutch to get through life without having to deal with their real problems and end up uninspired, their dreams vanished, and their aspirations diluted through bleary eyes. Please use pot wisely, and not every day, just for occasional fun and not as a daily dose, unless you truly are a medical patient with serious issues.

  8. Anonymous
    October 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Obama’s just trying to muster up some conservative votes

  9. pot math
    October 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    4:57 average != outliers

  10. pot math
    October 8, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    5:00 learn how to write

  11. Anonymous
    October 9, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Learn how to see, and then to understand, 10:46.

  12. October 9, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Anonymous at 5:00
    You should see a doctor. It’s not pot; it’s depression. Pot is not prescribed for depression.

  13. pot math
    October 9, 2011 at 11:36 am


    Correct. Treatment of depression reduces cannabis use frequency in a small percentage. Reduction of cannabis use != treating depression.

  14. Anonymous
    October 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    When you talk about the rich being taxed more it brings something to mind! Like the pot grower not getting taxed at all!!! (income tax) Of course they pay sales tax on all their diesel pickups, jewelry, guns and so on.

  15. pot math
    October 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm


    IRS 280E illegal income taxed at gross (Nondeductible items, including special rules limiting or deferring deductions)

    COGS for grower = $0
    COGS for distributor = wholesale price

    Average input to growing ranges $100-$200 per $1000 sold (growing and manicuring). IRS does not allow these deductions.

    Overhead for distribution ranges $50-$100 per $1000 sold (sales expenses). IRS does not allow this deduction.

    Sections 1401-1403 also apply (tax on self-employment income). Full social security and medicare must be paid.

  16. Not A Native
    October 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    On Friday, the coalition Dutch government said it would seek to ban what it considered to be highly potent forms of cannabis — known as “skunk” — placing them in the same category as hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine. The Dutch government says high THC content is detrimental to mental health, particularly when used at a young age, and that it wants to send a clear signal that strong cannabis poses an unacceptable risk to users.

  17. October 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Yes just look at all the damage the skunk weed has done to the poor Dutch:

    “6.(1997-1999) “The figures for cannabis use among the general population reveal the same pictures. The Netherlands does not differ greatly from other European countries. In contrast, a comparison with the US shows a striking difference in this area: 32.9% of Americans aged 12 and above have experience with cannabis and 5.1% have used in the past month. These figures are twice as high as those in the Netherlands.

    Source: Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Drug Policy in the Netherlands: Progress Report September 1997-September 1999, (The Hague: Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, November 1999), pp. 7-8.”


    have a peaceful day,

  18. Not A Native
    October 9, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Seems the Dutch are concerned about the rising numbers of pot smokers needing treatment. Unlike the US, the Dutch seems to be more concerned with the numbers of harmed than the number of users. That’s unlike the US where caveat emptor means people who are harmed don’t matter as much as profits from people who aren’t.

    From the domestic report referenced by the Dutch:

    One in three cannabis users smoke joints (almost) daily
    Cannabis use among young people and school-goers is on the decline, but treatment demand continues to rise. This is the conclusion of the 2010 Annual Report of the National Drug Monitor (NDM).
    The decline in the percentage of current cannabis users among school-goers in mainstream secondary education that was established between 1996 and 2007 continued in 2009. 5% of 12-16 year-old school-goers were cannabis users, irrespective of education level.

    In the general population, one in every four Dutch citizens has tried a joint. One in 25 uses cannabis; of this group, 30% smoke a joint (nearly) every day. In terms of population numbers, this is a total of 141,000 people aged between 15 and 64. The number of cannabis clients in addiction care continues to rise: from 3,534 in 2000 to 8,863 in 2009. In 2009, general hospitals registered over 500 admissions involving cannabis use; in one fifth of cases, psychosis was the reason for admission.

  19. October 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    There is no evidence that cannabis is addictive at all. Let’s just say it’s not addictive for 99.9% of the people that use it. They can start or stop use without any physical effects. This is Humboldt county, people know the truth about this, it is silly to argue otherwise.

    There is no proof that the use of cannabis causes any psychosis, to the contrary it is proving useful in the treatment of ptsd and depression and anxiety among other mental conditions. Sure people with psychoses self medicate, some with pot but many with alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, meth, sugar, soft drinks, sex, television or risky behavior.

    The psychosis was there long before the medication.

    I think the Dutch government is just trying to appease the fascists in control of the US.

    have a peaceful day,

  20. Walt
    October 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Crackdowns are a form of price support. Cui bono?

  21. High Finance
    October 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I wonder if the Union leader allowed his membership a vote on supporting drug dealers & users ?

  22. October 10, 2011 at 11:54 am

    1300 of the member work at medical marijuana “stores”.

  23. Anonymous
    October 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    So let me get this straight…

    According to the U.S. Attorneys, cities and counties that pass ordinances to cap the number of dispensaries and regulate those dispensaries are “facilitating” a federal crime, and the U.S. Attorneys are threatening the staffs and elected officials of those cities and counties with criminal prosecution.

    Yet, meanwhile, if a city or county does not have an ordinance to limit the number of dispensaries, and takes no role in attempting to regulate these dispensaries, then that city’s staff and elected officials are not “facilitating” the dispensaries and are therefore safe from Federal prosecution.

    In other words, the Feds are, in effect, threatening to prosecute local officials who attempt to limit the number of dispensaries in their towns. And if they succeed in intimidating our local officials into repealing their regulations on pot dispensaries, what do the Feds thing will happen? The dispensaries will magically disappear?

    Basically, the Feds can exercise their power to go after local officials for “facilitating” the dispensaries, but they can’t force local elected officials to pass an actual ban on dispensaries. So given the choice of allowing local regulation of the pot dispensaries (and the legitimacy that those regulations imply), versus not allowing any regulation, the Feds are choosing no regulation, even though this may well lead to MORE dispensaries rather than fewer.

  24. October 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Assuming of course that in Eureka for example the City Council were to do something rational and chose to regulate dispensaries no differently than any other business, and let the free market decide how many dispensaries are needed.

    Just keep them in commercial and industrial zones.

    have a peaceful day,

  25. Not A Native
    October 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Anon 12:23, I think you haven’t understood the Fed’s position.

    They claim(based on some documented evidence and prosecutions) that dispensaries are largely fronts for black market pot trafficking. As such, dispensaries then don’t fall within the ‘compassionate access’ guidelines under which the Feds agreed to tolerate prop 215 and SB 420.

    So, in declaring dispensaries patently illegal, the Feds maintain that local officials and property owners who assist(aid and abet?) those illegal facillities are complicit and subject to sanction.

  26. Anonymous
    October 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I understand their position. I just think if the Feds are successful in stifling local attempts at regulation, they may actually create a situation where we end up with just as many or more dispensaries than we have now, just without the local regulations that attempt to reduce negative impacts.

    In fact we may end up with a lot more relatively small dispensaries (so much the better to stay under the radar of the resource-starved Feds), rather than an centralized, regulated system with a limited number of fairly large dispensaries (which present an easy, big-payoff target to the Feds).

    Mind you, I’m not saying that this sort of decentralization would necessarily be a bad thing, I just think it’s rather ironic that the Feds are threatening to come down on cities and counties for trying to limit the number of dispensaries within their jurisdictions, something the Feds themselves have been unable to do.

  27. Not A Native
    October 10, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    The Feds are threatening to come down on cities and counties and property owners that permit any dispensaries to operate. All local governments require businesses to have licenses that they issue. Every local government that issues a business license to a pot dispensary is potentially in violation of the Fed policy.

    Its a lot more effective for the Feds to threaten government employees who personally gain little from dispensaries, than individual dispensary owners who are securing huge cash profits and likely see it as compensation for being legally insecure.

    News Item:

    Three senior citizens in Huntington Beach got more than they bargained for when they sampled some brownies at a memorial service. The sweets turned out to be pot brownies.

    The three seniors, all in their 70s and 80s, were admitted to the hospital Saturday, complaining of nausea, dizziness and an inability to stand without assistance……………..

  28. Plain Jane
    October 10, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Unknowingly consuming drugs is undoubtedly a scary experience which could send anyone to the hospital, but that doesn’t mean it was medically necessary.

  29. Not A Native
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