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New Jersey Cannabis Dispensary Employees Vote on First Union Contract

Jul 31, 2023

After more than a year of discussion, on July 18, 2023, the United Food and Commercial Workers (“UFCW”) Union, Local 360, announced that workers from Columbia Care, Inc.’s Cannabist retail dispensary location in Deptford, N.J., have voted to ratify their first union contract.

The vote, which was unanimously accepted, guarantees dispensary associates and senior associates retroactive wage increases back to March, as well as positions employees of the company for growth as the industry develops. This is the first of Columbia Care’s 94 dispensary locations across its 16 U.S. jurisdictions to unionize.

Columbia Care is one of the largest vertically integrated cannabis companies in the world, operating in the growth, cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution of products. The company’s retail brand, Cannabist, was launched in 2021. It was then recognized by Cannabis Business Times in 2022, as the #7 best dispensary to work.

The UCFW represents more than 1.3 million workers in the U.S. and Canada across the grocery and retail, pharmacy, health care, manufacturing, food processing, and meat packing industries. The organization’s Cannabis 360 Division focuses on the emerging cannabis industry, representing those working in dispensaries, labs, delivery, kitchens, manufacturing, processing, grow facilities and more.

Additionally, in Illinois, workers at Zen Leaf dispensaries agreed upon a tentative union contract with parent company Verano Holdings. The potential deal includes pay increases of up to 20% over the next three years, as well as employer retirement contributions. It is still subject to majority vote.

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