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August 15, 2023

Second CT cannabis company forms union

Courtesy photo Union workers at cannabis company CTPharma.

The state’s second cannabis company has formed a union, according to union organizers.

More than 70 employees at Rocky Hill-based cannabis grower and producer CTPharma announced today they’ve formed a union with United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 919. CTPharma is owned by Chicago-based multistate operator Verano Holdings Corp., which purchased the cannabis cultivator in Dec. 2021.

Organizing at CTPharma follows that of West Haven-based grower and producer Advanced Grow Labs, whose employees formed a union in May. Advanced Grow Labs, which was purchased by Chicago-based multistate cannabis operator Green Thumb Industries in 2019, saw 48 workers unionize then.

According to union officials, employees of each company formed their unions with a focus on gaining higher wages, improving benefits and securing important workplace protections.

Connecticut’s adult-use cannabis law requires companies to sign labor peace agreements ensuring they won’t prevent employees from organizing. The agreements, sometimes referred to as neutrality agreements, lay out how companies and labor organizations can behave during union organizing. They require employers to remain neutral during a unionization process, while preventing unions from picketing or holding work stoppages.

In March 2022, the Connecticut AFL-CIO, one of the most powerful unions in Connecticut and nationwide, endorsed the UFCW as the Connecticut Cannabis Union, essentially giving it a stamp of approval as a credible group to join.

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