Local Weed Workers Make History As First Employees From D.C. Dispensary To Unionize

For the first time in D.C., cannabis dispensary workers ratified a union contract with their employer — a landmark not just for the dispensary’s employees, but also for the city’s nascent marijuana industry.

The employees work for DC Holistic Wellness, a one-year-old dispensary located in Ward 7’s Deanwood neighborhood. “I am extremely proud to be a part of this historic moment,” Robert Pizzi, a metric analyst for DC Holistic Wellness, said at a contract signing on Wednesday. “This, in many ways, is one small step for the cannabis industry and a giant leap for workers everywhere.”

Represented by United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400, the dispensary’s 13 employees will enjoy five-year contracts, with three raises baked into their salaries a year, one of which must include an hourly wage raise of 50 cents to $1 every six months. (They’re starting at a base pay of $16 per hour.) The contract also mandates healthcare and retirement benefits.

Unlike many union contract negotiations, which often see employees fighting against hostile and unwilling bosses, DC Holistic Wellness owner Norbert Pickett actually suggested that his workers pursue unionization. He reached out to UFCW’s Jeff Ferro about eight months ago to jump start the process, he says. [Read more at WAMU]

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