Over 100 Employees at Rise Dispensaries in Chicago Set to Strike on 4/20 Eve

The strike comes amid growing concerns over workers' rights in the cannabis industry.

Workers at three Rise dispensaries in the Chicagoland area are set to go on strike Wednesday at 4:20 p.m. — a day before the popular industry sales event on April 20.

According to union spokesman Matthew McQuaid, over 100 employees between Niles and Joliet, Illinois, will participate in the open-ended strike.

The workers involved in the unfair labor practice strike are demanding that their employer, parent company Green Thumb Industries (CSE: GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF), negotiate with them in good faith and present a contract that includes better wages and retirement contributions.

The strike is in response to alleged unfair labor practices, including management requesting workers to remove Teamsters buttons during contract negotiations, McQuaid said.

The affected workers, primarily inventory personnel and budtenders, voted to unionize last year and have since been negotiating their first contract.

The Teamsters represent employees at a total of 17 dispensaries operated by various companies across Illinois. Rise dispensaries, the company at the center of the strike, currently operates 10 stores in the state.

The strike comes amid growing concerns over workers’ rights in the cannabis industry, with reports of underpaid and overworked cannabis employees prompting calls for better working conditions and increased protections for industry employees in recent years.

Green Thumb, which made $259 million in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2022, issued the following statement:

“Green Thumb respects the rights of our employees, including the fundamental right to organize and take protected concerted activity during negotiations. We made a fair offer to the union and will continue to work toward labor peace. During this time, we have made accommodations to continue our store operations to ensure our patients and customers can access the products they rely on for their well-being.”

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson writes about the cannabis industry for the Green Market Report. He previously covered the Missouri Statehouse for the Columbia Missourian and has written for the Missouri Independent. He most recently covered retail, restaurants and other consumer companies for Bloomberg Business News. You can find him on Twitter at @adam_sjackson and email him at adam.jackson@crain.com.


  • michael g mclaughlin

    April 19, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    A strike in Illinois? Cannabis has been legal only from Jan 1st 2020. What I see is a bunch of Gen Z thinking they are entitled. Let’s see what happens. I am all for unions BTW.


    • Get a clue

      April 22, 2023 at 7:20 pm

      Gen Z? Most people in the industry are 30 to 50 years old. In this case, the company makes over 1.2 million per month per store, offers earned sick time then disciplines the staff for using the sick time (even with a doctors note), pays below what they should (growers are paid 15 dispensaries 16). Each employee goes through 3 background checks with the state of Illinois who then approves an agent license. Then each employee is required to have 12 hours of training per year including not just hippa laws, but cannabinoids and terpenes and what each does as this is first and foremost a medical industry. When seals are opened or something is wrong, nothing is just tossed. Everything is video recorded and destroyed with cat litter and cement. Everything that is touched must be documented to the state from moving something accepting it from the delivery, entering into the store, putting it on the floor and selling, and SO MUCH MORE. To have the audacity to claim its a bunch of Gen z’s when in the 3 years I’ve personally been in the industry, most Gen z employees can’t make it past one week due to what the job actually entails, is just asinine.


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