Little is said about marijuana industry in the media. In many cases, the workers have nowhere to go once their rights are violated in the course of their working. There are seems to be several basic rights violations and poor working conditions in many of the organizations. Here are some of the main problems
Paying lower than minimum wage
Many marijuana retailers are failing to meet the minimum wage bracket according to the set laws. To make matters worse, most of the workers do not know the set law on minimum wages. A while back, a successful cannabis retailer, Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop was found to have been paying some of the workers below the minimum wages as set by Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS). While the law does not state the standard penalties that such organization are fines but the labor office ensures that the workers are paid their full wages.
Opening shop too close to restricted areas
In many states across America, there are restrictions on how close cannabis retailers should be, to restricted areas such as recreational centers. This has not been the case with some leading marijuana retailers. In a case that happened recently, protesters had taken to street in Seattle’s Central District saying the Uncle Ike’ pot shop was too close to Mount Calvary Christian Center church teen center. The law requires at least 1,000 meters from areas where the youth congregate.
Selling to minors
Late in 2015, several pot sellers were caught selling cannabis to minors. Despite the fact that the regulators had warned of the stings, the shop were found to have sold the stuff to children. The law clearly states that marijuana should not be sold to minors. Failure to follow the law leads to a suspension of the license and a fine.
One of the cases caught in 2015 involving Purple Haze pot seller leads to a 30-day suspension as well as a fine of $2500. The business was shut on December 1 and will be opening at the eve year 2017. In Brementon, Pacific Cannabis Company store was fined for selling to a minor. The shop then fired it elderly employee the same day he was charged with a felony. They claim to be the friendliest shop in town but they don't act like it to their employees.
Violations of the employees right to wages
C&C employees are fighting for their salaries after the employer brought in workers from Pacific Cannabis and threw out the indigenous workers from the shop. This put the workers without wages for a full year. According to the labor laws, this is a clear violation of the employees, rights. The reason for the takeover was because Washington has set the maximum number of stores to open in the area as 334 and C&C did not get a slot.
Using pesticides in growing cannabis
The law inhibits the use of pesticides in the growth of marijuana. A while back, two of the largest cannabis producers were barred from all sales by WSLCB after investigation showed that they were using pesticides. The regulator places tough requirement for producers which includes destroying of all mother plants, a $2500 fine and 10-day suspension. Both of the affected producers; New Leaf Enterprises and BMF Washington were forced to lay off its workers, as it could not pay wages without revenue.
Can United Food and Commercial Worker Union (UFCW) come to their rescue?
California has over 330,000 cannabis workers, most of who have been working in the business before it was legalized. The UFCW plans to enlist the lawmakers in helping this vast number of workers to become unionized. It has also created Cannabis Workers Rising to this end. Being part of the union offers the workers a platform to ensure that they get a decent income and their rights protected. Despite resistance from employers, the efforts are already ramped up in many parts and are not likely to stop.
Seriously the reason I felt confident about working in the California weed industry was because we had a union, and know it looks like Wa is in need of the same thing because if employees keep getting treated the way they are right now the industry will have a lot of bad apples creating bad news.