Munchies And Marijuana Join Political Forces: Food Union Supports California Pot Legalization

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Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 11:29 AM

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Food and pot -- natural allies? Who would have thought? A major labor union this week threw its support behind the November ballot initiative that would decriminalize and tax marijuana. The 200,000-member United Food and Commercial Workers endorsed Prop. 19 on the floor of the California Labor Federation Convention in San Diego, according to a statement from the Drug Policy Alliance.

"The Western States Council is endorsing Proposition 19 based upon our previous support of the medical cannabis initiative, 1996's Proposition 215," said George Landers, executive director of the food workers union.

The proposition would allow pot users 21 and older to possess up to once ounce of cannabis. It would also leave regulation of marijuana retailers up to individual cities and counties so that in places like Los Angeles where dispensaries have been heavily regulated, local officials can keep control over the area pot trade.

"We view Proposition 19 as an enhanced version of the previous proposition, that creates taxable revenue, and produces jobs in agriculture, health care, retail and possibly textile," Landers said. "We further believe that the proposition will deprive narco-traffickers of a significant source of criminal revenue."

Dan Rush of the union's Local 5 didn't tiptoe around the natural pot-food partnership:

The marriage of the cannabis-hemp industry and UFCW is a natural one. We are an agriculture, food processing and retail union, as is this industry. We are proud to represent our cannabis workers and we're determined to create a responsible, safe and effective industry not only for our members, but for the communities that we live in and work in too. We have only just begun to organize this industry.

Suddenly we're hungry. Is it lunchtime yet?

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