Solo budtenders face violence, abuse from customers

Published on January 27, 2022 by oz. staff

A union representing budtenders is calling on the City of Victoria to protect the safety of those who work in cannabis retail stores.

UFCW 1518, which represents the BC Budtenders Union, wants Victoria city council to reject potential changes to the city’s cannabis bylaws that would eliminate the requirement for two staff members to be onsite during all operating hours.

“Staff who work alone in retail stores experience more violence, harassment, threats, and abusive behaviour from customers. Workers who deal with cash are at even higher risk when working alone, particularly at night,” says the union.

“Budtenders in Victoria have reported regular incidences of hostile, threatening and dangerous interactions with customers throughout the City of Victoria. These workers are concerned that these incidences could increase or escalate if budtenders are forced to work alone.”

UFCW 1518 says it has sent a letter to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and to city councillors asking them to ensure that updated cannabis retail regulations require at least two staff.

Those belonging to the BC Budtenders Union have the right to collectively negotiate minimum staffing levels into their contracts.

“The union is concerned that non-unionized budtenders will be put at risk if the bylaws change to allow managers to schedule budtenders to work alone,” says UFCW 1518.