California marijuana growers unionize, have better benefits than you

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Marijuana green house in California

Put this in your pipe and smoke it: Marijuana gardeners, trimmers, and cloners who work for Marjyn Investments in Oakland have unionized under the Teamsters and will receive a pension, paid vacation, and health insurance. Their hourly wage will increase from $18 to $25.75 in a little over a year, too. Tending weed — the medicinal kind, of course — isn't all cushy benefits:

Growing marijuana outdoors is not hard – the nickname “weed” is well-earned. Indoor growing operations require more know-how and more work. But the most labor-intensive part of the process comes at harvest time, when growers rely on small armies of trimmers to clip the plant’s resin-rich buds.

The work can be difficult and the hours long – and trimmers cannot count on federal labor regulations to protect them while doing work banned under federal law.

Joining the Teamsters is a big step in the medical marijuana industry, but don't expect it to happen anywhere else but California. In much of the rest of the country, we're far too busy spending millions of dollars tracking, arresting, and imprisoning pot growers to worry about their working conditions.

In July, Oakland also became the first city to authorize industrial pot cultivation and now issues permits for large-scale growing operations.