Sign First Union Contract with UFCW Local 400

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 21, 2020) – Workers at DC Holistic Wellness, the first 100 percent solely Black-owned cannabis dispensary in the District of Columbia, today signed their first collective bargaining agreement, becoming the first dispensary in the nation’s capital to unionize.

“This is a win-win for everybody,” said Norbert Pickett, owner of DC Holistic Wellness. “It’s a win-win for the business, it’s a win-win for the workers, and it’s a win-win for patients, because they’re going to get better care and more stable attention. … We’re an emerging market, so it’s important we have a highly-trained workforce that’s very knowledgeable.

“When I started out on this mission, it was simply to bring down the price of cannabis for patients in the District, because it turned out we were the highest in the country,” he said. “After I dug a little deeper and my business started to operate, I found out there was another need—to take care of the workers. Here at DC Holistic Wellness, we want our workers to have a career, not look at this as a job.”

“We are delighted to welcome the staff of DC Holistic Wellness to our union family,” said UFCW Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “In this emerging industry, it is critical that we establish the highest possible job standard, with living wages and comprehensive benefits. By taking this historic step, these workers have set a meaningful precedent for the cannabis industry in the District.”

“This in many ways is one small step for the cannabis industry and a giant leap for workers everywhere,” said Robert Pizzi, a UFCW Local 400 union member who serves as Inventory and Metric Analyst for DC Holistic Wellness. “I am extremely proud to be a part of this historic moment.”

“This is not my first dispensary so I know some of ins and outs of working in this industry,” said Alexis Taylor, a UFCW Local 400 union member and a Manager for DC Holistic Wellness. “You want to make sure that the people who are providing the care to the patients are actually being looked after. You want to make sure everyone is being looked after in this industry. So for me, this was a very big moment.”

“As a union organizer, I know how hard it is to get employers to do the right thing,” said Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO President Dyana Forester, a UFCW Local 400 member, “but when you have someone who says, ‘I want to come to the community and be responsible and be accountable, and the way to do that is having a voice for my workers that I don’t control,’ that is something we can all be proud of.”

Anthony Lorenzo-Green, ANC Commissioner for Deanwood, the neighborhood where the shop is located, said, “It makes sense that the first, solely Black-owned cannabis dispensary in DC is also the first unionized cannabis dispensary in D.C. That is a big thing, that is history.”

The groundbreaking five-year contract covers 13 current staff and provides comprehensive benefits and union protections for the staff, including:

  • Guaranteed pay increases every six months, in addition to an annual cost of living wage adjustment
  • Paid time off including holidays, vacation, and personal days, as well as bereavement leave and paid time off to vote
  • Just cause protection from unjust discipline or firing
  • Grievance procedure to resolve disputes with management
  • Robust health care benefits through the UFCW National Health & Welfare Fund
  • Accredited training program
  • Retirement benefits


The United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400 is led by President Mark Federici and represents 35,000 members working in the grocery, retail, health care, food processing, service and other industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. 

DC Holistic Wellness, the Home of Cannabliss, is the first 100% solely Black-owned medical cannabis dispensary in Washington, DC. Located in the Deanwood neighborhood, Cannabliss is also the first unionized cannabis dispensary in the District, offering employees greater pay, paid time off, and paid holidays, as well as retirement plans, additional accredited training and health care insurance.