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


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

We researched state and federal filings and press releases to compile the information on the 828 facilities that have either a union in place or a labor peace agreement. Our findings are below.

Key Findings

  • UFCW has the most facilities with 91 and the most labor peace agreements with 369
  • IBT has the second most facilities with 24 and labor peace agreements with 180
  • Illinois tops the state leaderboard with 35 unionized facilities and California places second with 14
  • Green Thumb Industries has the most unionized facilities with 15, and Cresco Labs has the second most with 12
  • Retailers & Dispensaries (Stores) are the most unionized activity type with 96 facilities, and Cultivators are the second largest with 23 facilities

Company Relationships

Here are the 5 companies with the most unionized facilities. The top 4 are publicly held:

In looking at the elections tallies, the following leaderboard compiles the for and against votes: Eaze Technologies delivery drivers voted for unionization at 96% rate, while MSO employees hovered between 67%-75%.

Here are the top 5 companies based on the number of votes “For” or “Against":

License Activity

Unionized facilities include all types of cannabis activities. Here is the breakdown:  

National Unions

Here is our compiled Win & Loss breakdown for UFCW & IBT:

Local Unions

Local unions serve as the bridge between employees and the national unions. Here are the top 5 local unions with the most election activity:  

State Exposure

Some states have much more Union related activity than others, Union related activity includes all types of union elections at facilities, things like - Petition for Support of Current Union, Union Clarification of Scope, Union Decertification, and our most common, Union Certification.  

Here is our top 5 list of the states with the most Union election activity.

Labor Peace Agreements

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 interfere with union organizing. Some states, like California, require this as a mandatory item to acquire a license.

Here’s a look at the CA Labor Peace Agreement Leaderboard:


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

  • MSO’s have facilities spread across the nation, making the standardization of employee benefits and support difficult
  • Some prominent union-friendly states also have high-value cannabis markets
  • Lack of federal legalization & employees are looking for workplace protection
  • Natural progression of a growing industry filled with farming, retail, and warehouse employees

Will the trend of cannabis facilities unionizing continue to grow as the market matures? Stay tuned as we’ll continue to track all union activity on our Cannabiz Intelligence Platform.


Shea Sanford is Product Manager for Cannabiz Media’s Cannabiz Intelligence product. He’s responsible for sleuthing out corporate transactions and keeping track of MSOs, SSOs, REITs, SPACs, and any other acronyms we can find.

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Cannacurio is a column from Cannabiz Media featuring insights from the most comprehensive cannabis market intelligence platform. Catch up on Cannacurio posts and podcasts for the latest updates and intel.

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