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Rhode Island Medical Cannabis Industry Unionizes



Like many other states with medical cannabis, Rhode Island recently voted to unionize. Now, workers can join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Union 328 (UFCW). 

Currently, the union represents over 11,000 workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth was the first Rhode Island cannabis company to take the union plunge. Now, those who work in the medical cannabis industry have worker protections through a union branch called Reclaim RI. 

“We hope that through demonstrating our continued commitment to one another in organizing as workers that we can create some form of lasting change within Greenleaf that allows for better job security and more space for us to actually be heard. We are proud to become a part of the larger momentum being seen by workers to unionize that is taking place within the cannabis industry,” the workers of Greenleaf claimed in an official statement. 

Those at Greenleaf who are eligible for the union are budtenders, key holders, online workers and even delivery people. Allegedly, Greenleaf attempted to fight unionization, taking measures like hiring out-of-state consultants who are anti-union. Still, the workers at the company voted to form a union, and now they are afforded the protections of other unionized workers. 

Greenleaf employees also claimed that the company eliminated their employee incentive program, reduced employee benefits and did not listen to employee concerns or include employees in big decisions. They also want a more equitable future in the company. For all these reasons, they decided to unionize. 

“Reclaim RI believes that worker justice should be at the center of the legalization process. Workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively are key elements of that vision. We support the Greenleaf workers in their organizing efforts and urge them to vote yes for union representation and a voice at work,” the union explained.