1199 SEIU, America’s largest healthcare union, and Columbia Care LLC, one of the nation’s leading vertically-integrated manufacturers and distributors of medical marijuana products and services licensed to operate in DC, AZ, IL and MA, today announce the formation of a strategic alliance in New York State and Massachusetts to serve as a partnership model for the entire nation.
Because of its strong reputation and commitment to providing quality care and treatment, workers of 1199 SEIU have strongly endorsed Columbia Care’s application and believe it should be awarded one of the lucrative five licenses to be issued. The agreement opens the way for a fair process for workers to form a union and advocate for high quality work environments in this young and growing industry. The partnership also affirms Columbia Care’s commitment to create well-paying jobs in a developing industry that will soon employ tens of thousands of workers across the United States.
“The mission of 1199 SEIU members is always to provide the highest quality, compassionate care to our patients and advocate for good jobs for all working people. This agreement is an important first step to assuring employees in the medical marijuana industry have the right to form a union and can enjoy the protections and benefits of unionized workers,” said George Gresham, president of 1199 SEIU.
Mr. Gresham also announced that 1199 SEIU had given its endorsement to Columbia Care in the Company’s application for a medical marijuana license in New York State. The union indicated its support in a recent letter to the State Department of Health that it is “…placing the full weight of its resources behind Columbia Care’s application.” Columbia Care has applied to New York State for a license to operate one medical marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facility and four medical marijuana dispensary facilities. If granted a license, the Company’s operations across the State would create more than 470 jobs, a financial analysis of the company’s plans has determined.
“As the market leader in Massachusetts, we have partnered with Columbia Care’s affiliate Patriot Care, because we want to ensure access to compassionate care for patients with cancer, HIV, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and other diseases,” said Veronica Turner, Executive Vice President of 1199 SEIU. “Their mission to bring relief and renewal to patients extends to our communities by creating well-paid jobs and working with other non-profits to address community needs. We expect Columbia Care/Patriot Care will be a long-term partner for 1199 SEIU and offer a sustainable business that will improve quality of life for many residents of Massachusetts, New York and patients across the country.”
In response to the endorsement, Columbia Care’s CEO, Nicholas Vita, said “We are honored by the trust, confidence and support that 1199 SEIU is investing in us and this partnership. 1199 SEIU stands out as an organization at the front line of healthcare with its members providing high quality medical services to the sick, the infirm and the elderly. We are grateful and excited to have the support of such a highly experienced, esteemed and respected partner as we work together towards our joint goal of enhancing the quality of life for large numbers of Americans and their communities.”
According to a recent impact study conducted by AKRF, Inc., Columbia Care’s operations will generate a total of 405 permanent jobs and over $84 million in total economic activity within New York State. In addition, Columbia Care will support a total of 71 jobs and $11.49 million in economic activity within New York State over the course of the construction period. The projected amounts include economic effects from the operation of the cultivation and dispensary facilities as well as benefits from the Columbia Care Research Foundation, which would award grants to local research facilities throughout New York State.
Columbia Care’s investment in New York is contingent upon the awarding of a state medical marijuana license in accordance with the Compassionate Care Act that passed last year legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. The award of licenses is expected to be announced by New York State in late July.