Vireo Health in Elmhurst. // Google Maps photo

Unions Take a Hit — With Help From A Queens Weed Dispensary

By David Brand

A Queens medical marijuana dispensary is sweetening the pot for current and former union members.

Vireo Health of New York, the first medical marijuana dispensary to open in Queens, will extend discounts to more than 2.5 million members and retirees of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW.

Starting on Labor Day, qualifying union members past and present will get $25 off their first purchase and a 10 percent discount on each subsequent purchase from any of Vireo’s four dispensaries — including the shop located on Queens Boulevard next to the Queens Center mall in Elmhurst.

The discount also applies to the company’s home-delivery service.

“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,” said Ari Hoffnung, Chief Executive Officer of Vireo Health of New York. “Vireo and Local 338 share a deep commitment to ensuring that jobs created by New York’s cannabis industry are well-paying and that employees are treated with dignity and respect.”

Local 338 represents 13,000 retail drug store, pharmacy, supermarket, grocery store and food process and production industry employees across New York State. There are approximately 2.5 million union members living and working in New York, according the union.

In a statement, New York AFL-CIO President Mario Cilente praised the agreement.

“The New York state AFL-CIO applauds Vireo Health of New York’s commitment to creating good paying solid jobs and recognizing the importance of working men and women to have a voice in their workplace,” Cilente said.

Vireo was the first medical marijuana dispensary to set up shop in Queens. In July, Curaleaf, another dispensary, opened in Forest Hills.

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