Labor organizers announced two new unionizing elections at dispensaries on Chicago’s North Side and in Springfield, Illinois, last week. A vote-by-mail election starts on February 25 for Windy City Cannabis/Curaleaf’s Weed Street dispensary and for a date to be determined by the National Labor Relations Board for Ascend Wellness Holdings’ dispensary in Springfield.

“Cannabis companies bragged about bringing careers and great paying jobs to Illinois, and the employees are fighting to make sure that happens,” said Mo Zavala, organizing director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881 (UFCW). “It’s through a union contract that they’ll get real careers and rules, not just jobs that are at the whim of what a manager says.”

The new organizing efforts come on the heels of two other unionizing efforts at Cresco Labs facilities. A unionizing election at Cresco’s Lincoln, Illinois cultivation site failed last month according to UFCW staff, and a second election at a dispensary in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood resulted in UFCW organizing the facility.

This time around, UFCW’s organizing effort in Chicago has the support of local politicians, including Ald. Walter Burnett, who represents the Weed Street location, said Zavala.

Neither Ascend or Windy City/Curaleaf responded to requests for comment.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that employees at the Lakeview dispensary chose not to organize. We apologize for the error.


Editor Mike is a co-founder and the editor of Grown In, a U.S. national cannabis industry newsletter and training company. His career has taken him from Capitol Hill to Chicago City Hall, from...