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Dispensary Chain Becomes First to Unionize in Washington

Cannabis States

Have A Heart dispensary has 134 employees and five locations in Washington. Those employees now have union coverage with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, marking the first marijuana industry retailer to obtain union coverage in the state.

A normal business would be able to use union benefits as a tax deduction, as well as any other company-paid benefits, but not when the business is in the marijuana space, KOMO News reports.

CEO Ryan Kunkel said, “We are not allowed to deduct any expenses that normal businesses are allowed to. Because we still traffic in a federally illegal narcotic in the eyes of the federal government, they will take our tax revenue. However, they won’t acknowledge that what we have is a legal business – therefore we don’t get deductions.”

UFCW21 President Crosby said, “This was one of the fastest negotiations we’ve had because the owner was neutral and let the employees do what they want.”

Kunkel holds license in six other states for 18 other marijuana businesses. His plans are to open the doors to collective bargaining and unionizing in those locations as well.