As if our local government wasn’t doing enough to squeeze the life out of Humboldt’s most lucrative industry, the State of California decided to let unions drive the bus in regulating wages for cannabis industry employees. As you realize, this is just another development that will price Humboldt’s growers out of the market.
It’s already apparent from the County of Humboldt’s complete failure to regulate the marijuana industry that anyone but the highest-producers in Humboldt will be forced out of the game due to their inability to cope with the cost of farming.
Check this article from the LA Times: Cannabis workers, once facing legal peril, get the California seal of approval
Basically, the State of California’s “California Apprenticeship Council of the state department of Industrial Relations” has created a union-designed apprenticeship program to for the position of pharmacy technician. Setting union training and membership as the standard for dispensary workers spells trouble for the entire industry, as it will become a requirement to have union-trained employees (mark our words!), and will pass the higher cost of employing those folks to those working the industry. We guarantee you that the price of cannabis will continue falling, meaning that all of those increased costs will be saddled on producers, manufacturers, and dispensaries.
For example, Shayna Schonauer, the first recipient of the State-approved tag of “cannabis pharmacy tehcnician,” is earning in the range of $36.00 per hour. That’s a darn high wage, considering that Shconauer earned $9.00 per hour when she started out. Quite the jump. Even if that wage increase were limited to only cannabis pharmacy technicians, it would have a huge effect on the bottom line for dispensaries.
But the problem goes much deeper than that.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union, the group leading the charge behind unionization for the cannabis industry in eight states, “envisions apprenticeship programs covering every part of the cannabis industry “from seed to sale.””
Imagine that. Every single employee of the cannabis industry earning union wages. It might be good for the employees individually, but for Humboldt’s slice of the industry? Just one more reason that we can plan on kissing our toehold in the pot business good-bye.
Schonauer’s quadruple salary stands as a good indicator of how wages would increase, but even the $13.50 wage mentioned in the LA Times’ article would be catastrophic for Humboldt’s farmers who are already in a tough position when it comes to meeting the demands of the market.