First in the Nation Union-Employer Cannabis Pre-Apprenticeship Program Launches in Jersey City

UFCW Local 360 partners with The Cannabis Place on new cannabis employee retail training

WEST BERLIN, N.J.--()--United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 360, in partnership with The Cannabis Place, announces the launch of the country’s first cannabis retail pre-apprenticeship training course. Held at The Cannabis Place’s community impact room in Jersey City, 22 local students are learning the basics of working in a cannabis retail environment from UFCW Local 360’s own experts. Every participant, after completing the two week course, has a job with The Cannabis Place where they can accrue the time and experience needed to complete the apprenticeship program.

“No-one has done this before,” said Hugh Giordano, Director of Organizing at UFCW Local 360. “We have a visionary employer harnessing our unmatched cannabis industry expertise to train ambitious, local, but often overlooked talent. It’s a scalable and repeatable model that delivers great value for employees, owners and consumers.”

“We want our business to serve the local community,” said The Cannabis Place founder and CEO Osbert Orduña. “That means running an ethical, unionized company and boosting the prospects and prosperity of our neighbors. This program does that and is more proof that workforce investment equals immediate positive community impact. People can start careers here, whatever their background and skill level, and regardless of their history.”

The two-week pre-apprenticeship program includes 80 hours of classroom instruction, followed by 2,000 hours on the job. The full apprenticeship program, which is currently reviewing applications for its first class, involves 144 hours in class and 2,000 hours on the job.

Cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation and programs like this are designed to ensure the benefits of its growth accrue equitably. That includes building pathways to family-sustaining careers with a special focus on marginalized communities, veterans, and those who suffered during the failed war on drugs.

“The best employers recognize the enormous untapped pool of amazing talent out there,” added Giordano. “Programs like this help attract that talent and release its potential.”

“The goal is a program employers can trust and job-seekers can have confidence in,” added Orduña. “A lot of so-called training courses are popping up and charging all kinds of fees. Instead, we pay our students a stipend. And, with UFCW, we’ve removed the risk and replaced it with recognized expertise.”

From seed to sale, UFCW is a national leader in organizing cannabis industry employees. The AFL-CIO’s designated cannabis labor union, UFCW works with employees and business owners to create a successful, regulated cannabis industry that delivers family-sustaining jobs and is focused on social equity.

The Cannabis Place was founded by CEO Osbert Orduña, a first generation Latino American of Colombian descent, and a Service-Disabled Veteran. He is putting his U.S Marine Corps experience, and his unique perspective to work in the cannabis industry.

About United Food and Commercial Workers: The UFCW International Union represents over 1.3 million hardworking families across the U.S. and Canada. These members work in essential industries such as Retail, Warehousing, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Transportation, the Public Sector and Cannabis. More at

About The Cannabis Place: The Cannabis Place is licensed in New Jersey and operates a home delivery service in New York. Before its launch, CEO and founder Osbert Orduña visited dispensaries across the country to develop his model for a new kind of cannabis company, which put people over profits. More at


Hugh Giordano,
Director of Organizing,