Why Pot Shops Need Unions
And unions need them right back, John Ford argues
By Kevin Spak,  Newser User
Posted Feb 21, 2013 1:59 PM CST
This file photo shows a family walking past a closed medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

(Newser) – When you think of unions, you probably think of blue-collar trucker types, auto workers, or maybe teachers. You probably don't imagine the hippy stoners currently employed by the country's semi-legal pot dispensaries. Believe it or not, the United Food and Commercial Workers union has been crucial in staffing those dispensaries, and already counts as members some 3,000 pot workers, writes John Ford at PolicyMic in a post spotted by Andrew Sullivan—and "it is actually a match made in heaven."

Each side has something the other desperately needs. With union membership trending downward, the UFCW desperately needs a source of fresh blood, and the marijuana industry represents a great growth bet. Marijuana dispensaries, meanwhile, crave legitimacy and lobbying muscle. The UFCW can provide both, so in a "seemingly contradictory" move, business owners are actively seeking to organize their workers. Someday, when marijuana is fully legal and less laid-back CEOs take over, they may regret that, "but for now, pot seems to have found a valuable ally." Click for the full column.