It's going to be a lot tougher for L.A. politicians to wage their war on pot shops when dispensary workers belong to the same unions that City Hall is in bed with.
United Food and Commercial Workers -- and UFCW Local 770, in particular -- has decided to take medical-marijuana dispensary workers under its massive and powerful wing. Tomorrow morning, the union is set to announce that...
... "health care and grocery workers will welcome the medical cannabis workers and their successful organizing campaign into their union."
Rick Icaza, president of UFCW Local 770, totally legitimizes the pot industry in his press release:
"This is the next step in professionalizing and stabilizing this new sector of the health care industry. Unionization and collective bargaining bring better training, less turnover, and more stability to the health care industry. This is a positive step towards successfully integrating compassionate care into our system of health care."
The announcement will be made at Los Angeles County Federation of Labor headquarters downtown -- aka, L.A. City Hall's one-stop shop for campaign donations and endorsements. Democrats have even been known to clean toilets and change bedpans for the federation's coveted thumbs-up.
LA Weekly reported one month ago that these same pols were on the brink of a citywide marijuana-dispensary ban:
Now, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and City Council District 14 representative Jose Huizar are pushing an ordinance to ban all marijuana dispensaries. The motion has passed the L.A. City Council's Public Safety Committee and the Planning Commission, and could be decided by the full City Council in a matter of weeks -- or days.
Word is, several members of the deeply split council are ready to approve a ban.
Under City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, L.A. officials have taken an extremely skeptical stance on what really goes on at the city's oft-rogue pot shops.
When the federal crackdown began late last year, Special Assistant City Attorney Jane Usher told the Weekly that "each and every" dispensary that the office had investigated seemed to be getting its supply from some sketchy unknown source, and was serving hundreds of thousands of "patients" who fit a rather non-patient profile.
"I can offer you no story that doesn't fit this stereotype," Usher said.
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Needless to say, a partnership between L.A.'s largest labor unions and L.A.'s most disrespected laborers would make aforementioned stance a little awkward.
"My coworkers and I have joined UFCW Local 770 because we want to protect and preserve good jobs and access to affordable healthcare that responsible medical cannabis dispensaries can provide," an employee at the Venice Beach Care Center says in the presser.