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Medical Marijuana Growers Unionize, Join Teamsters

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By Jason Beahm on September 21, 2010 12:48 PM

California has been known for going it's own way when it comes to law and politics. Here's a new first: 40 Oakland, California, medical marijuana growers joined a Teamsters union. The new Teamsters work in the medical marijuana gardens in Oakland. They perform work trimming, cloning, watering and gardening the marijuana at Marjyn Investments, LLC. Marjyn contracts with California medical marijuana patients to grow pot on their behalf.

Under the Teamsters contract, the marijuana growers will receive $25.75 an hour, a substantial raise from the $18 an hour they are making now, Reason.com reports. The contract is for two years and includes a pension, health insurance, paid vacation and other benefits.

I'm sure that the members of the Teamsters are happy when their increased compensation. It could get tricky however, when a dispute arises. That's because it is going to be difficult for the National Labor Relations Board to participate if a conflict arises between the Teamsters union for the gardeners and management. It would be an odd legal situation for the federal government to get involved in the process of mediating a matter of a business that was illegal under federal law. Michael Leong of the Oakland office of the National Labor Relations Board said he was unaware of any such case in the past.

It's the kind of case that could end up taking what California is trying to handle as a state and inject it back into the federal legal system. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The matter could end up amplified if Prop. 19 passes in November, which would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in California. Right now, Prop. 19 is narrowly leaning towards passing, though it's nearly even according to the polls. Even if it passes, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and ongoing lawsuits and legal disputes are likely.

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