The Maine case was extreme.
When state inspectors investigated the employee complaints they found Wellness Connection of Maine guilty of 20 different violations – including use of pesticides and the manufacture of a highly concentrated form of marijuana called ‘kief’ that was prohibited under the state’s medical marijuana law.
Employees also alleged the company had used intimidation tactics to interfere with their organizing efforts and asked the NLRB to intervene.
The federal agency’s advice memo on the Wellness Connection of Maine complaints is rich with detail about the specific tasks of cannabis workers – from the rough trimming of leaves and stems to the processing of bud through a machine called a ‘twister’.
(‘The twister uses a rotational vacuum and cutting process to remove the remaining stems and leaves from the buds – which have the most medicinal value.’)
The document also succinctly summarizes the state of the market as it existed in late October 2013 when the memo came out:
‘The state-authorized medical marijuana industry is currently worth approximately $1.5 billion’ it reads ‘and could grow to $6 billion in 2018’.