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BC Budtenders Union grows with first members in Vancouver

The young industry has a young union.
Workers at Eggs Canna have unionized. Photo: Brendan Kergin / Vancouver Is Awesome

As the cannabis industry grows, so do things related to it.

That includes a union; the BC Budtenders Union is a thing (it's only a couple of years old) and just signed up its first members in Vancouver. Workers at the East Hastings Eggs Canna shop have voted to become the first cannabis retail workers in B.C.'s Lower Mainland to join the young union, which includes retail staff on Vancouver Island and growers in the Okanagan.

The BC Budtenders, and its new members, are part of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 1518. The budtenders are their own division in the union, which also represents Save-On-Foods, Shoppers Drug Mart and Safeway employees. The union represents 26,000 workers, according to their website.

The union's secretary-treasurer Patrick Johnson says the union is excited to see the BC Budtenders Union enter the Vancouver region.

"Today, we’re excited to get behind the budtenders at Eggs Canna and start to organize around Vancouver," said Johnson in a press release. "Workers have been at the forefront of this industry from its inception, shapeshifting cannabis to benefit their communities, and their influence is only growing."

Around 70 per cent of retail cannabis workers in Victoria have joined the union, according to the release, but until the East Hastings Egss Canna it didn't represent any retail workers on the mainland. Johnson suggests more unionization should come to the industry.

"At every point along the cannabis supply chain, workers deserve a voice,” he says. “Everyone that works with cannabis plays an integral role in its production process. From its growth to its distribution, sale, delivery, and eventually consumption, pot must serve everyday people."