The sale of recreational marijuana is becoming a legitimate industry in Oregon, and some workers in the business are choosing to unionize.
So far, employees at only two marijuana dispensaries in the state — Hi Cannabis in Portland and West Salem Cannabis — have signed contracts with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in Oregon.
But as recreational marijuana sales in the state ramp up, the UFCW predicts thousands more will join them.
It's even created a division called “Cannabis Workers Rising."
Local 367 Communications Director Nathe Lawver works in the Tacoma area with dispensary workers, and represents only medical marijuana dispensaries.
Lawver said the union has helped legitimize the industry.
“We have working relationships with community leaders," Lawver said. "We’re able to introduce these workers to them and really put a human face to the cannabis business.”
The UFCW claims to represent about 3,000 workers in the medical and recreational marijuana industry in states across the country.
Still, not every business owner or marijuana industry worker is eager to unionize.
Matt Walstatter, owner of the Pure Green dispensary in Portland, said his employees have no reason to organize.
"I don’t think that there are people working here that are really feeling like, 'Wow, we’re getting taken advantage of. We need someone to stand up for us,'” he said.