A pedestrian walks past a neon sign advertising a California medical marijuana provider along a street in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles in 2010. (Richard Vogel, Associated Press file)

Unionized California dispensary another sign of normalized weed

Workers unionize at first licensed marijuana dispensary in Orange County; labor contract guarantees minimum starting pay of $13.50 with benefits, vacation and pension contributions

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Workers at Orange County’s first licensed medical marijuana dispensary have unanimously decided to unionize.

South Coast Safe Access, which employs up to 22 people in Santa Ana, signed a labor agreement with United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 324.

The Orange County Register reported Wednesday that the contract provides employees minimum starting pay of $13.50 an hour, health benefits, vacation and paid pension contributions.

The newspaper says the South Coast Safe Access pact marks the first with a dispensary for the union’s local branch.

The dispensary started negotiating with UFCW 324 after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act in October. One of the act’s provisions requires marijuana business owners with 20 or more workers to sign agreements saying they won’t block unionization.

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Information from: The Orange County Register