Cannacurio #86: The Growing Trend of Unionization in the Cannabis Industry

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Organized labor is gaining traction in the cannabis space as some prominent union-friendly states also have high-value cannabis markets. In the last three years, employees at more than 100 facilities in 20 states joined unions. The United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) dominate the union landscape and are supported by chapters across the country.

We researched state and federal records and press releases to compile information on the 828 facilities that either have a union or have a labor peace agreement in place. Our results can be found below.

Key findings

  • UFCW has the most facilities, 91, and the most labor peace agreements, 369
  • IBT has the second most facilities with 24 and labor peace agreements with 180
  • Illinois leads the state with 35 unionized facilities, while California is second with 14
  • Green Thumb Industries has the most unionized facilities with 15 and Cresco Labs has the second most with 12
  • Retailers and pharmacies (stores) are the most unionized activity type with 96 facilities, and farmers are the second largest with 23 facilities

Corporate relationships

Here are the 5 most unionized companies. The top 4 will be awarded publicly:

Looking at the election results, the following rankings summarize the yes and no votes: Eaze Technologies delivery drivers voted 96% in favor of unionizing, while MSO employees varied between 67% and 75%.

Here are the top 5 companies based on the number of votes “for” or “against”:

License activity

Unionized facilities encompass all types of cannabis activities. Here's the breakdown:

National unions

Here is our compiled profit and loss breakdown for UFCW and IBT:

Local unions

Local unions act as a bridge between workers and national unions. Here are the top 5 local unions with the highest electoral activity:

State exposure

Some states have much more union-related activity than others. Union-related activities include all types of facility union elections, such as a petition in support of the current union, a union scope clarification, a union decertification, and our most common union certification.

Here is our top 5 list of states with the highest voter activity in the union.

Labor peace agreement

A labor peace agreement (LPA) is a contract between an employer and a union in which the employer agrees to be neutral during a union organizing campaign and not to interfere with union organizing. Some states, such as California, require this as a mandatory requirement for obtaining a license.

Here's a look at the CA Labor Peace Agreement rankings:


What are some of the driving forces that have driven union activity in the cannabis space?

  • MSOs have facilities spread across the country, making it difficult to standardize employee benefits and support
  • Some prominent union-friendly states also have high-quality cannabis markets
  • Lack of federal legalization and workers seeking protection in the workplace
  • Natural progression of a growing industry full of agricultural, retail and warehouse workers

Will the trend toward unionization of cannabis operations continue to grow as the market matures? Stay tuned as we will continue to monitor all union activity on our Cannabiz Intelligence platform.


Shea Sanford is the product manager for Cannabiz Media's Cannabiz Intelligence product. He is responsible for tracking down corporate transactions and keeping track of MSOs, SSOs, REITs, SPACs and any other acronyms we can find.

Cannabiz Media customers can stay up to date on these and other new licenses through our newsletter, alerts and reporting modules. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive these weekly reports straight to your inbox. Or you can schedule a demo to get more information about how you can access the Cannabis Market Intelligence Platform yourself and dive deeper into this data.

Cannacurio is a Cannabiz Media column featuring insights from the most comprehensive cannabis market intelligence platform. Check out Cannacurio posts and podcasts for the latest updates and information.

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