LB City Council Agrees Tax Breaks for Retail Cannabis Must be Shared

UFCW Local 324
April 18, 2023
Contact: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620,  

Long Beach City Council Agrees Tax Breaks for Cannabis Retail Businesses Must be Shared with Workers and Communities

Buena Park, CA – Today, the Long Beach City Council codified language into the city’s annual budget ensuring cannabis retail businesses that uplift workers, the community, and the industry will receive a lower tax rate. The decision came after workers pushed to ensure the incentives were directed to businesses that incentivize local hiring, provide living wages and career pathways for workers, and promote social equity in our communities. 

“When I was 18 years old and started working in a dispensary, I had a simple goal, and it was to help people with dependencies on pharmaceutical drugs, find more natural alternatives for diseases and ailments,” said Kimberly Alejandre who works at Eastside Catalyst and is a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 324. “I believe in this measure strongly, Because as someone who has worked in the industry since before cannabis was legal statewide, I have experienced some of worst worker exploitation at the hands of companies both licensed and unlicensed. Lowering taxes for companies that agree to pass the benefits onto their employees will highly benefit the community.”

The Long Beach City Council will provide a lower rate of retail taxes for cannabis retail operators who:

  • Pay 80% of employees at least 115% of minimum wage and all workers 110% of minimum wage
  • Offer the majority of workers full-time hours
  • Assure that drivers are reimbursed appropriately for using their vehicles.
  • Provide on-the-job paid training opportunities with state-certified programs to create career pathways
  • Create an on-ramp into the industry for community members, and promote growth from within
  • Hire at least 40% of their employees from low-income neighborhoods in Long Beach by 2025

The lower tax rate for high road employers will provide much-needed relief for retailers who have been unable to maintain high worker wages, benefits, and career growth opportunities because of the high cost of taxes.

“Prioritizing good, safe jobs provides workers with opportunities to climb career ladders, gain industry recognition, education, and training, further legitimizing the cannabis industry in Long Beach,” said Matt Bell, secretary-treasurer, UFCW Local 324. “UFCW Local 324 is proud that the Long Beach City Council will continue to be a bold leader in the cannabis industry by encouraging the industry to provide jobs that pay better wages and earn better benefits. These high road cannabis jobs—like the ones we represent—are vital to keeping our economy afloat and lifting families out of poverty.”

The lower tax rate is expected to go into effect with the city’s FY2024 budget.

UFCW is the nation’s leading union representing cannabis workers, with 40,000 members nationwide.

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