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Between getting the hydroponics just right and remembering the code to the gun safe, selling marijuana ain't easy. Pot merchants in the city of Oakland, where California law makes medical marijuana legal to buy and possess, have found what they hope will be a way to make it easier: unionize. Jackson West of the local NBC affiliate reports:

At a ceremony hosted by Oakland City Council's Rebecca Kaplan, 100 employees at medical marijuana dispensary and education hub Oaksterdam University turned in their membership cards to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 5.

It may well be the first union pot shop in the country, if not the world.

While it will help employees collectively bargain and resolve disputes with management, it also gives owner Richard Lee political allies with labor organizations.

It might sound crazy until one considers the amount of money involved:

As legitimization of the multi-billion dollar business in marijuana could set the stage for a growth industry, one that UFCW is now in on the ground floor of. Which could help sway other growth-oriented unions like the Service Employees International Union.

Is this a good idea for places like California where medical marijuana is legal? What about places where it's illegal? If drug dealer unionization catches on, look out for more people like Pumpkin Escobar on your corners:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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