Bay Area resident Zachary McDonnell Casciato was excited to tell his family of East Coast Teamsters that he was finally a “union guy.”
Casciato, 33, has been working with cannabis since he was 12 years old in what is now considered the ‘black market’ marijuana industry. He’s since worked in California’s legal cannabis industry as a budtender and delivery person before settling at the Blüm San Leandro dispensary, where he is currently a cash clerk and receptionist during the pandemic. This is his first union job.
“There’s a lot of people who look down on marijuana because there’s a lot of stigma to it and I think that unionizing cannabis workers will remove a lot of that stigma,” Casciato told Motherboard.
He is just one of 10,000 cannabis workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. The union has been integral to unionizing and legalizing marijuana in the United States since it started organizing over a decade ago in southern California after medical marijuana was first legalized.