President's Message - Include Labor Peace Agreements in Adult-Use Cannabis

The NYS AFL-CIO strongly supports inclusion of a labor peace agreement as the centerpiece of legislation to establish a legal and well-regulated adult-use cannabis market in the state. Further, current unionized medical cannabis companies that have already invested and created jobs in New York should be authorized to lead the way in all phases of the new cannabis industry. This is the only way to ensure legal parameters are followed, local communities heal from past cannabis enforcement, and we reap the economic benefits of creating good jobs and a reliable revenue stream.

We should establish a program to get economic and support programs in place for individuals that faced criminal justice, health and other socio-economic issues related to cannabis. The best way to do that is to create a pipeline of good-paying jobs with health insurance and pension benefits for those individuals. Labor peace agreements have already created a future for thousands of workers in the medical cannabis sector and will create opportunity for many thousands more in the adult-use sector.

The NYS AFL-CIO has partnered with our affiliate RWDSU, Cornell ILR and the Workforce Development Institute to establish a training and placement program to do just that. The NYS AFL-CIO also supports small business participation and ownership opportunities in the new market. Entrepreneurial training and responsible business practices must be a part of that process.

Finally, the NYS AFL-CIO supports funding for law enforcement training and equipment, research programs and local government assistance to ensure legal parameters are followed and our communities and roadways are protected as cannabis becomes legal. The only way to do this is to ensure the product is safe, securely supplied and taxed at appropriate levels to ensure there is a viable and stable market. The current medical cannabis industry is best poised to provide that revenue stream and the resources to make this a beneficial industry for workers and the communities they live and work in alike.

Mario Cilento, President