When about 100 workers at several Oakland medical marijuana businesses voted last month to join United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, some wondered what the new nexus of labor and cannabis might mean for the Tax Cannabis 2010 legalization measure on November’s ballot.
Today, we might be starting to see the answer. Oakland-based Communications Workers of America Local 9415 – with about 1,700 members in Northern California and Hawaii – endorsed the measure as a job creator.
“The labor movement is coming together behind this initiative,” Local 9415 President Sally Venable said in a news release. “With California’s state budget in disarray, and people out of work, it’s time to harness this incredible revenue stream and create tens of thousands of high quality, union jobs, by controlling and taxing cannabis in California.”
The release cited an estimate by the California Chapter of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) that a controlled and taxed cannabis market could create 60,000 to 110,000 new jobs and $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion in new wages for workers each year.
UFCW Local 5’s Dan Rush, who oversees statewide ballots matters for the union, has been assigned to work full time on the Tax Cannabis 2010 campaign. “California is laying off teachers, firefighters, and nurses left and right,” he said in the news release. “Controlling and taxing cannabis will generate billions in revenue to help us save these vital services and jobs.”
Check our print editions this Sunday for my story about how marijuana – long an underground, counterculture province – is taking its place as just as much part of the political and business establishment in California, just as much “The Man,” as traditional corporate interests like power utilities and insurance companies.