Largest Healthcare Union in the United States, 1199SEIU, Reaches Strategic Agreement with Nation's Leading Medical Marijuana Company

Agreement aims to promote compassionate, high-quality care for patients, while ensuring good jobs for working families

Jun 30, 2015, 08:00 ET from Columbia Care LLC

NEW YORK, June 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 1199SEIU, America's largest healthcare Union, and Columbia Care LLC one of the nation's leading vertically-integrated manufacturer and distributor of medical marijuana products and services licensed to operate in DC, AZ, IL and MA, today announced the formation of a strategic partnership in New York State and Massachusetts to serve as a partnership model for the entire nation. Because of Columbia Care's commitment to provide the highest quality health care and create good jobs to the working people of New York State, the workers of 1199SEIU have strongly endorsed Columbia Care's application and believe it should be awarded one of the five licenses being issued.

The agreement opens the way for a fair process for workers to form a union and advocate for high quality work environments in this young and growing industry. The partnership also affirms Columbia Care's commitment to create well-paying jobs in a developing industry that will soon employ tens of thousands of workers across the United States.

"The mission of 1199SEIU members is always to provide the highest quality, compassionate care to our patients and advocate for good jobs for all working people. This agreement is an important first step to assuring employees in the medical marijuana industry have the right to form a union and can enjoy the protections and benefits of unionized workers," said George Gresham, the President of 1199SEIU. "Once again, Columbia Care has affirmed its position as the market leader by proactively building bridges with the labor movement and working families. Columbia Care is one of the most experienced and professional national organizations and its leadership will serve as an example for the rest of the industry to follow. With one of the only proven, national track records, we anticipate partnering with Columbia Care as it grows into new markets, such as New York, where we believe they are the most highly qualified applicant.  Columbia Care's commitment to serving patients' medical needs is consistent with our key mission of improving and expanding the quality of patient care."

Mr. Gresham also announced that 1199SEIU had given its endorsement of Columbia Care in the Company's application for a medical marijuana license in New York State. The union indicated its support in a recent letter to the State Department of Health that it is, "…placing the full weight of its resources behind Columbia Care's application."

Columbia Care has applied to New York State for a license to operate one medical marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facility and four medical marijuana dispensary facilities. If granted a license, the Company's operations across the State would create more than 470 jobs, a financial analysis of the Company's plans has determined.* After rigorous vetting processes, through its affiliates, the Company has been selected to receive licenses in the most highly selective and regulated states including Arizona, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts and Nevada.  Over the past three years since its inception, Columbia Care's operations have successfully engaged in over 100,000 individual patient interactions.

"As the market leader in Massachusetts, we have partnered with Columbia Care's affiliate Patriot Care, because we want to ensure access to compassionate care for patients with cancer, HIV, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and other diseases," said Veronica Turner, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU. "Their mission to bring relief and renewal to patients extends to our communities by creating well-paid jobs and working with other non-profits to address community needs. We expect Columbia Care/Patriot Care will be a long-term partner for 1199SEIU and offer a sustainable business that will improve the quality of life for many residents of Massachusetts, New York and patients across the country."

In response to the endorsement, Columbia Care's CEO, Nicholas Vita, said: "We are honored by the trust, confidence and support that 1199SEIU is investing in us and this partnership. 1199SEIU stands out as an organization on the front line of healthcare with its members providing high quality medical services to the sick, the infirm and the elderly. We are grateful and excited to have the support of such a highly experienced, esteemed and respected partner as we work together towards our joint goal of enhancing the quality of life for large numbers of Americans and their communities."

According to a recent impact study conducted by AKRF, Inc., Columbia Care's operations will generate a total of 405 permanent jobs and over $84 million in total economic activity within New York State. In addition Columbia Care will support a total of 71 jobs and $11.49 million in economic activity within New York State over the course of the construction period. The projected amounts include economic effects from the operation of the cultivation and dispensary facilities as well as benefits from the Columbia Care Research Foundation, which would award grants to local research facilities throughout New York State.*

Columbia Care's investment in New York is contingent upon the awarding of a state medical marijuana license in accordance with the Compassionate Care Act that passed last year legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. The award of licenses is expected to be announced by New York State in late July.

*According to a June 2015 research study conducted by AKRF, Inc. "Columbia Care Medical Marijuana Project New York State." The study was conducted utilizing IMPLAN, an economic input-output modeling system, and all dollar estimates are in 2015 amounts.


Columbia Care is one of the Nations' largest vertically-integrated manufacturer and distributor of medical marijuana products and services. The Company is licensed in the most highly selective and regulated states and has successfully engaged in over 100,000 individual patient interactions to-date. Founded by two former Goldman Sachs executives, and in partnership with of some of the best teaching hospitals and institutions in the country, Columbia Care is a patient-centered healthcare Company aiming to set the standards for a burgeoning new industry –standards of professionalism, quality, caring, and empathy. For more information please visit

ABOUT 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-­growing healthcare union in the nation, with over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. 1199SEIU is part of the 2.1 million member Service Employees International Union. 1199SEIU's mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all. For more information please visit


SOURCE Columbia Care LLC