LOS ANGELES, Calif.—With the sale of recreational marijuana to adults becoming legal in California on Jan. 1, three major
unions—the United Farm Workers, Teamsters, and United Food and Commercial Workers—are eyeing the organizing prospects in an industry expected to have more than 100,000 workers. “If you’re a cannabis worker, the UFW wants to talk with you,” national vice president Armando Elenes told the Associated Press, noting that the union was a natural fit for agriculture. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the UFCW, which has organized some workers in medical-marijuana dispensaries, said it hoped other unions would “respect our jurisdiction.” Teamsters organizer Kristin Heidelbach said there’s plenty of room for different unions, as thousands of workers will need representation as the industry expands. Los Angeles delivery driver Richard Rodriguez, who’d never been in a union before this year, told the AP that his experience being stopped by police for a traffic violation three months ago converted him into a “hardcore” Teamster. Though his delivery was legal, he was held for 12 hours until a union lawyer got him released without any penalty. Without the union, Rodriguez said, his employer could have “easily replaced” him.