ALBANY, New York- Many labor union members in New York could be eligible for a discount on medicinal cannabis.
Vireo Health, a company that operates several cannabis dispensaries in New York state, is offering a discount for more than 2.5 million union members and retirees. Members are eligible for a $25 discount on their first purchase and then an additional 10 percent discount on all transactions after. There are approximately 3,000 labor unions that are a part of the AFL-CIO and all are eligible for the Vireo discount.
Vireo Health has been trying out several mainstream promotions not typically associated with the cannabis industry. Last year, they offered a Cyber Monday promotion, the only cannabis dispensary in New York to do so according to Vireo.
Medicinal cannabis in New York was legalized in 2014 but got off to a very slow start. The initial list of qualifying ailments was narrow and few doctors and dispensaries were available for patients. The situation has improved, though many believe more needs to be done.
Vireo owns 20 acres of land to produce cannabis in Fulton County, but only uses one acre to meet demand. However, if New York approves recreational cannabis use, as many suspect, Vireo believes they will be ready to meet surging demand.
“Certainly, if New York was to allow for adult use of marijuana, the demand for products that we manufacture in our Fulton County facility would increase, ” Ari Hoffnung, CEO of Vireo Health of New York, said according to The Daily Gazette. “We are committed to be in Fulton County for many, many years to come.”
As for the labor union discounts, Hoffman believes there is also an educational opportunity.
“This program is designed to make our products more affordable and to educate New York’s union members about the medicinal benefits of marijuana as an alternative to opioids,” he said.
Vireo Health’s support for labor unions seems to go beyond lip service. Hoffnung’s employees are members of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. Local 338 president, John Durso, is urging his members to patronize dispensaries that employ union members
“We cannot support retailers — supermarkets, pharmacies and dispensaries — that do not offer family-sustaining wages and benefits to their employees,” Durso said in a news release.