Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

June 17, 2010
Unions see opportunities in marijuana industry, ballot measure

California's marijuana movement is picking up the union label.

Last month, the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 5, in Oakland announced that it would represent 100 employees working in local medical cannabis industries.

Now Communications Workers of America Local 9415, which represents 1,800 members in California, Nevada and Hawaii, is endorsing the November initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use in California and allow local communities to tax and regulate pot sales.

In an campaign statement for initiative proponents, the union said it was backing the measure to help save public sector jobs through taxes on legalized pot.

In an interview, Local 9415 executive vice-president Christina Huggins said unions also see opportunities for new jobs and members in a California marijuana market expanded beyond current legal medical use.

"There's a potential for a lot of jobs," Huggins said. "When beer and alcohol was legalized, those were unionized jobs. We feel the people working in the upcoming industry should have good benefits and good pay and justice on the job."

Public Safety First, the campaign committee for legalization opponents, has support from law enforcement groups including the California Peace Officers Association, the California District Attorneys Association and the California Narcotics Officers Association. The "no" campaign is also backed by the California Bus Association and the CoachAmerica bus service.

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About Weed Wars

Peter Hecht

From its pot fields to politics, California is the epicenter for America's marijuana discussion. This blog covers news, trends and people of the California marijuana story.

Contact reporter Peter Hecht at phecht@sacbee.com

» See the sacbee.com marijuana topics page

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