While winners in 17 categories will be revealed on the evening of the awards, we are announcing the Publisher’s Choice awards in advance. Today, we put a spotlight on the recipient of the Ambassador of the Year: Hugh Giordano.
In New Jersey’s cannabis space, Hugh is known as the “Union Guy.”
There isn’t a leaf-touching business in New Jersey that doesn’t know his name or know of his work. Because of him, thousands of cannabis workers have stood up for fair wages, healthcare benefits, vacation and sick days, and a pathway to respectable retirement.
“Without the workers, there is no cannabis, right? It doesn’t exist,” he said, adding that he took inspiration and mentorship from his UFCW colleagues on the West Coast for what they accomplished in the late 1990s.
“I saw what they were going through, making sure that owners have the same equal rights as every other business owner to go in and speak to an elected official, even state elected officials to be looked at as a legit industry,” he said. “I knew that if we help the owners early on that that would impact the workers, as well.”