Vireo Health Employees Become First Cannabis Workers to Unionize in Maryland

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TOWSON, Md. – Medicinal cannabis workers in Maryland have officially organized. Employees for Vireo Health International will now join the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 27 (UFCW27) after MaryMed LLC (a subsidiary of Vireo Health) voted to ratify a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The agreement represents the first union contract to include medicinal cannabis workers in Maryland. 

Those working at Vireo’s 20,000 square foot cultivation and processing facility in Hurlock are now assured annual raises, paid time off, and healthcare benefits through UFCW27. The facility is a major hub for Maryland’s medicinal cannabis program and supplies products to dispensaries across the state. 

“We are excited to welcome MaryMed employees into UFCW27,” Jason Chorpenning, president at UFCW Local 27, said in a press release. “This contract is an important win for the future of all workers in the cannabis industry and I am very proud of the role that UFCW has played in helping to bring collective bargaining to the cannabis industry. I want to thank our union bargaining committee led by Nelson Hill and Vireo Health for their hard work to create good-paying jobs for Maryland residents.”

The current CBA between Vireo Health employees and UFCW27 will be valid for three years and guarantees “comprehensive safety provisions and anti-discrimination language and establishes sound procedures for grievance and arbitration matters,” the release stated. 

Kyle Kingsley, chief executive officer for Vireo Health, was proud to announce that his employees are now unionized.

“As a ‘people-first’ business, Vireo is deeply committed to our employees and we are proud to be a union employer in Maryland and beyond,” Kingsley said. “Our workforce is key to our company’s success and we look forward to partnering with UFCW to support legislation, such as legalizing adult-use cannabis, that will help create thousands of new middle-class jobs across Maryland.”

As cannabis legalization spreads to additional states, more industry members are likely to join organized labor unions. UFCW also has agreements in place with cannabis workers in several other states including California and Massachusetts.