Teamsters Local 777 members at three Illinois dispensaries operated by Rise – a subsidiary of Green Thumb Industries (GTI) – have ratified their first collective bargaining agreements with the multi-state cannabis operator. 

The contract ratifications apply to two dispensaries in Joliet and one in Niles. The negotiations included a 13-day work stoppage that ended in May.

"Let this be a lesson to cannabis companies all across not just Illinois, but the entire country – Teamsters don't back down," said Jim Glimco, Local 777 President. "A lot of people who went through what these men and women went through, they would've thrown in the towel. Not this group. They're young, energetic, tough, smart; they look out for one another; and they embody what being a part of this union is all about."

The contracts include provisions such as wage increases of 18 percent over the lifetime of the agreement, attendance bonuses, a scheduling policy based on seniority, guaranteed tips and discounts, improved safety standards, and protection against unjust termination or discipline.

"I could not be prouder of myself and my coworkers for achieving this first, historic collective bargaining agreement," said Reilly Drew, a Rise worker who served on the bargaining committee. "We started as a small but united group of workers. Over the last year and a half, we have grown to be a strong union, changed our workplace for the better, and forged a bright path forward for workers in our industry."

In other news, GTI’s Board of Directors authorized spending up to $50 million on repurchasing more than 10 million shares over a 12-month period.

“We believe instituting a share repurchase program is an appropriate tool for creating shareholder value without compromising our growth initiatives,” said Ben Kovler, GTI founder, chairman and CEO. “This action was in the works before last week’s announcement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which called for cannabis to be reclassified to Schedule III. Having witnessed a 30-plus percent move in the sector based on news from Washington, D.C., we want the ability to take advantage for shareholders should the opportunity arise.”

As of Aug. 1, GTI had just over 209 million outstanding shares. The company can repurchase the shares between Sept. 11 and Sept. 10, 2024, but it said it’s not obligated to purchase any shares if the company determines a better use for its cash reserves. Shares may be purchased on the Canadian Securities Exchange, the OTCQX Best Market, or alternative trading systems and will be subject to the limitations and rules imposed by U.S. and Canadian securities regulations.