The legalization of adult-use cannabis provides the foundation for a new revenue and job-creating industry that will sustain our economy for generations.
This tremendous victory would not have been possible without the unwavering commitment and determination of RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum and RWDSU Local 338 President John Durso. The entire Labor Movement thanks them both for their leadership on this groundbreaking victory.
We are very pleased that the agreement includes labor peace as an ongoing condition of licensure for cannabis businesses. Labor peace agreements build on what already exists in the medical cannabis program. Including a requirement for labor peace agreements was a priority for the labor movement, particularly our affiliate the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, (RWDSU), which currently represents employees in the medical cannabis industry.
This legislation provides important protections for most workers by prohibiting employers from disciplining employees for engaging in what will now be legal activities while off duty and ensuring safe workplaces. These protections are not available to federal employees, workers subject to drug testing required by federal law, or to those who if not tested would jeopardize an employer’s federal contract or grant. The entire adult-use program will be overseen and regulated by a state agency with bargaining unit public sector employees.
Another vital part of this legislation is the meaningful commitment to social equity by expunging criminal records and overturning convictions of people unfairly incarcerated for certain past cannabis-related violations. And it rightly allows preference for minority and low-income applicants for licenses with a portion of the revenue dedicated to social equity programs.
We thank the Democratic Majorities of both houses of the Legislature for passing this legislation.