British Columbia’s First Fully Unionized Private Cannabis Chain: Trees Cannabis Joins UFCW 1518

British Columbia's First Fully Unionized Private Cannabis Chain: TREES CANNABIS JOINS UFCW 1518


In a groundbreaking move that sets a new standard for the cannabis industry, workers at two Trees Cannabis locations in Nanaimo have joined their colleagues at other locations across Vancouver Island by joining United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1518, establishing Trees Cannabis as British Columbia’s first private wall-to-wall unionized cannabis chain.

Staff were driven to organize as a show of solidarity with their colleagues—fighting back against the unique pressures associated with the cannabis industry, including low wages, minimal protections, and limited job security. The decision to unite under UFCW 1518 membership came from the workers’ collective efforts for stronger workplace protections and recognition for the unique role of Budtenders in British Columbia.

As the cannabis industry grows and reaches new frontiers, we are proud to be at the forefront of ensuring our rights and jobs are protected, We love what we do, we are good at it, and we deserve to thrive in the cannabis industry.

This landmark organizing drive represents a significant milestone for cannabis workers across BC. Joining Trees Cannabis locations in Victoria, which first organized with UFCW 1518 in 2021, these workers join the growing BC Budtenders Union.

The BC Budtenders Union, a division of UFCW 1518, formed in 2020 when cannabis workers in Victoria united as the first unionized dispensaries in Canada. Now representing a significant number of private dispensaries in Victoria and numerous others throughout the province, these workers are united in the fight for safety, fair wages, and respect for the vital role they play in their workplaces.

“We are proud to welcome UFCW 1518’s newest members as they make history by organizing as the province’s first private wall-to-wall unionized cannabis chain.” says UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “These workers are setting a new standard for the cannabis industry, and we anticipate that their achievement will send shockwaves across the cannabis labour landscape, empowering workers across Canada to demand fairness and respect in their own workplaces.”

Trees Cannabis members aren’t just advocating for workers in the cannabis industry; they are joining workers across various sectors, including food, healthcare, commercial, industrial industries, and more, in the broader fight for fairness across British Columbia and beyond.

The BC Budtender Union is a growing division of UFCW 1518, a movement comprised of tens of thousands of workers in BC’s retail sector. These members are working together to revolutionize the Cannabis industry.

Want to learn more about the movement? Check out our website at and follow UFCW 1518 on Facebook and Instagram.