As time runs out for New Jersey cities to establish cannabis limitations before Governor Murphy’s August 21st deadline, UFCW Local 152 staff continue to attend meetings up and down the Garden State to voice the Local’s support of the industry.
Our presence at the meetings continues to be well-documented in the local news! Below you’ll find a recent list of mentions from June and July 2021.
On June 17, UFCW Local 152 Union Representative Hugh Giordano attended the City of Margate Commission meeting to voice his support of cannabis businesses in the city.
He was later mentioned in The Press of Atlantic City:
“We are the official cannabis labor union, and we are asking you to table this ordinance and not ban good jobs,” said Hugh Giordano, of Blackwood, representing the United Food and Commercial Workers union in Egg Harbor Township, which he said has 15,000 members in South Jersey.
“Cannabis creates good union jobs,” Giordano said, for those who study botany, horticulture, chemistry and pharmacy. “It will attract young, educated people to live and work here.”
Giordano suggested looking at an ordinance passed in Bayonne, Hudson County, which allowed the town to pick and choose which businesses can enter town.
Read the full article here.
Union Representative Hugh Giordano attended the Tuesday, June 22nd South Brunswick Township Council meeting, where the council proposed a ban on the “sale, growth, and distribution” of cannabis.
Giordano was later reported in a local newspaper:
Hugh Giordano, a union representative from UFCW Local 152 representing marijuana workers, urged the council not to pass the ordinance at a recent meeting. Giordano told the council that recreational marijuana can bring good jobs with benefits to a community.
“New Jersey has some of the best labor laws in the country when it comes to cannabis. They attract an educated workforce.” Giordano said, “These jobs are going to create an economic boom because they are going to attract the best.”
Giordano offered to invite the council and the police department to the Garden State Dispensary to see the process of growing and selling marijuana. Giordano will be speaking with Township Manager Bryan Bidlack to discuss his concerns.
Read the full article on TapInto.
The same meeting was also reported on Patch.com:
At the meeting, Hugh Giordano from United Food and Commercial Workers Union representing marijuana workers urged the council not to pass the ordinance. Giordano said the cannabis business “creates good jobs,” and attracts an educated workforce.
“New Jersey has some of the best labor laws in the country when it comes to cannabis,” said Giordano.
“These jobs are going come with a living wage, healthcare, dental, vision, sick time, retirement. These are real careers, and they attract an educated workforce.”
Giordano said the jobs will create an “economic boom” and explained that many workers need degrees in chemistry, horticulture, etc., before joining the industry.
“Even if you decide to prohibit adult-use, maybe consider medical for sick people and dying people,” Giordano said. He also offered to invite the Council and South Brunswick Police Chief to the Garden State dispensary to see the process of growing, cultivating, and selling.
Mayor Charlie Carley invited Giordano to meet with Township Manager Bryan Bidlack and the governing body to discuss the matter further. “It’s a nuanced issue. It’s not black and white and we’re always ready to learn,” said Carley.
Read the full article on Patch. Way to go, Hugh!
Union Representative Hugh Giordano managed to attend a second meeting on June 22nd in Freehold Township. Although the Council maintained an existing ban on adult-use cannabis, they will permit medical cannabis to operate in the city!
He was later quoted on a local news website:
Hugh Giordano, a representative with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, thanked the committee members for permitting medical cannabis dispensaries to operate in Freehold Township, but asked the township’s elected representatives to be less restrictive toward the marijuana industry.
“These jobs are highly educated,” Giordano said. “These folks have degrees in chemistry and botany. Even in the retail side, we have pharmacists working there. I suggest coming to (an operating dispensary) where you can see how it is operated and the security (in place). I am happy to say these facilities hire former police officers because we want to use the best and brightest in all forms of the industry.”
Read the full article on CentralJersey.com.
On Monday, June 28th, Hugh Giordano attended the Council meeting in Madison, NJ where six ordinances were introduced despite public opposition. He was later mentioned in a local news website:
Hugh Giordano, a United Food and Commercial Workers union representative, urged council members to pass a cannabis ordinance similar to the city of Bayonne, and resident Thomas Haralampoudi asked the council why the borough is opting out of the ordinance if recreational cannabis has been legalized in the state of New Jersey. Governor Murphy signed into law legislation legalizing and regulating cannabis use and possession for adults 21 years and older.
Read the full article on TapInto.
Hugh Giordano attended the June 29th Jackson Township Council meeting, where an ordinance to prohibit cannabis businesses from operating was passed. Hugh was quoted extensively on a recent news article reporting the meeting:
During the public hearing, Hugh Giordano, a representative/organizer for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 152, based in Egg Harbor Township, voiced the union’s opposition to the ordinance and to certain comments that were made by council members when the ordinance was introduced several weeks earlier.
“We are a national labor union of 1.3 million hard-working families and we are the official labor union that represents cannabis workers from seed-to-sale, both medical and adult use (cannabis).
“We oppose this ordinance. This is an attack on good jobs, this is an attack on living wage jobs; jobs that come with healthcare, sick time, vacations, dental, vision and retirement (benefits). These are adult jobs and not (part-time jobs),” Giordano said.
“One facility, one (cannabis) cultivation site, can create up to 100 jobs, full-time jobs. On top of that, when you prohibit this (type of business), you open the door to other folks to sell things.
“The gateway drug is the drug dealer, the gateway drug is the person who pushes other things on young people. To say that having an adult use (cannabis business) and/or a medical (marijuana) facility in Jackson is the same thing as saying if you have a bar, you are going to have one of those hard-working people give a 12-pack of beer to somebody, that is not the reality of it,” Giordano said.
The union rep said Jackson officials do not have to permit retail cannabis operations. He said, “This is a working class community that uses their hands. Cultivation, manufacturing, warehousing; you could have other opportunities outside of retail that have no interaction of purchasing anything and you could still get tax credits and create good jobs.”
He said comments that were made by municipal officials during a previous meeting created a “fear factor” regarding the issue at hand.
Giordano said if the Jackson council members want a conservative example regarding cannabis operations, they could look to Bayonne in northern New Jersey.
He said in that community, officials “laid out application fees, renewal fees; they have also laid out what they are going to allow and how many of each type of plants they are going to allow.
“On top of that, they have a merit-based application system so the onus is not on you as council members to pick and choose winners and losers.
“… So you do have power; to say you don’t have power and to say there are unknowns, and to say (cannabis) is going to get into the hands of kids, these are all debunked types of myths,” Giordano said.
Read the full article on CentralJersey.com.
UFCW Local 152 is not new to fighting on behalf of the cannabis industry up and down the Garden State.
On a national level, the United Food and Commercial Workers represent workers in both medical and recreational cannabis-related industries. UFCW Local 152 is committed to standing with cannabis workers in our area to not only create good jobs, but also represent them so that their employers pay good wages, good benefits, and fair treatment in a safe work environment. Discover more about the Cannabis Campaign in our area and our efforts to support workers in the industry.
If you work in the Cannabis industry and want to join UFCW Local 152, please contact us via our Union Interest form.