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The Teamsters Have A New Training Center To Teach Members To Grow Weed, But The Timing May Be Bad
A training center opens just as there is a glut in the marijuana market.
Not your grandfather’s union any more.
Amid a glut of too much marijuana on the market, Teamsters Local 1932, a labor union of over 14,000 members across Southern California’s Inland Empire region, has announced the availability of 20 scholarships for a new cannabis cultivation training certification program based out of the union’s new training center in San Bernardino, according to a union press release.
“This union is bringing together cannabis workers to improve this craft and is also creating pathways for workers to advance in the industry with education and certification,” said Randy Korgan, Local 1932 Secretary-Treasurer. “With a trained workforce, and our initiatives to involve union members in political action; that will help the cannabis business and its workers thrive, there are brighter days ahead for the field.”
In 2021, cannabis cultivation workers at Tikun in Adelanto, Calif., organized to join the Teamsters Union, becoming the first unionized cannabis cultivation workforce in Southern California. The same year, California Teamsters committed $1.5 million to support legislative efforts to improve the cannabis workforce issues and cannabis rescheduling. The training certification program scholarships align with the union’s goal of raising standards across the cannabis industry.
The cannabis cultivation training certification program is a five-week course covering topics specifically designed to prepare growers for successful harvests. Future courses are planned for manufacturing and retail work. The program also prominently features seminars from the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and experts on Occupational Safety and Health Administration policies to ensure that workers can build their knowledge on safety and their rights at work. As the first unionized workforce in Southern California, Tikun of Adelanto will be utilizing the cannabis cultivation training certification program for a new apprenticeship pathway, which includes hands-on experience.
The City of Adelanto is exploring initiatives to help support certification and training for local residents, with the help of the Local 1932 Training Center.
“The City of Adelanto will have the premier cannabis workforce,” said Gabriel Reyes, Adelanto Mayor. “We look forward to providing our residents the opportunity to achieve their certification in this growing industry with the help of Teamsters Local 1932. Our goal is to be known as the capital of the cannabis industry, and to be that, we need to have a trained workforce that can produce premier craftsmanship.”
The cannabis industry employed 415,000 full-time workers across the country in 2021, an increase of about 30 percent from 2020, according to industry news published MJBizDaily. By increasing the availability of training and certification to workers in Southern California, Local 1932 aims to offer current members and prospective members a way to improve their employer’s crops and further professionalize the industry’s cultivation workforce. Existing training programs hosted by Local 1932 come from partnerships with high-road employers who want to reduce employee turnover and increase industry capacity with trained workers.
The problem for the Teamsters, as well as any other union in the cannabis industry, is there currently a depression in marijuana prices.
Demand during the pandemic was high as business were closed and people were locked in their homes.
“That spurred growers to ramp up production. But then the stimulus checks and the increased unemployment money stopped flowing, coupled with rising gas prices and inflation,” reports the Fresno Bee. “And those who still had disposable income once again had more outside activities.”
The price per pound farmers receive for their cannabis for the week ending April 15 is down nearly 50 percent from the end of October 2020.
This means that, while the Teamsters’ cannabis cultivation training certification program may produce highly skilled marijuana growers, there might not be jobs for them to fill upon graduation.
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