Workers at three local cannabis dispensaries have voted to unionize, the first time that has happened at any cannabis business in the region.
Labor union leaders and the owners of the affected dispensaries said the contracts ratified Wednesday will set a precedent for future cannabis union contracts across the region.
The rapidly growing industry is generating thousands of local jobs and millions in tax revenue for local cities and the county, including an estimated $23 million for the city of San Diego in the new fiscal year that begins July 1.
The three dispensaries that will now have unionized workers are in Vista, the city of Imperial in Imperial County and San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood. They are all owned by the cannabis chain March and Ash.
More than 140 workers spread across the three dispensaries approved the new contract at a rate of almost 90 percent.
The dispensaries in Imperial and City Heights sell recreational cannabis, which state voters approved in 2016. The dispensary in Vista only sells cannabis to customers who can prove they need the drug for medical reasons.
Local 135 of the United Food and Commercial Workers spent two years trying to organize the workers and get a contract approved.