Support Adult-Use of Cannabis and Local Communities

The New York State AFL-CIO supports legislation to allow for the adult-use of cannabis in New York, as well as job creation and an entrepreneurial pathway for communities and individuals negatively impacted by past social problems and stigma associated with cannabis. 

The most effective way to address many of the social problems of the past is to ensure a pathway to unionization for all cannabis workers. This is already the case in the medical marijuana industry where union contracts lead to family sustaining jobs. This includes guaranteed wage increases, paid time off, quality affordable healthcare for workers and their families, retirement savings and on-the-job training. 

This has been achieved by requiring labor peace agreements in the medical marijuana law which should be extended to adult-use licensees and Special Use Permits, no matter the size of the program. There is no better way to counter social and economic problems than to establish a sustainable future for individuals by ensuring they have access to middle class jobs. 

The NYS AFL-CIO also strongly supports programs to help transition individuals and communities, that have been disenfranchised by the social problems, into this new industry. Licensed and permitted cannabis companies should be required to use local, targeted preferences for hiring disadvantaged community members. This should include skills training certification that is affordable and easily accessible to workers to ensure they have ownership and licensing opportunities as well as access to good jobs. 

Finally, the bill should allow the medical cannabis registered organizations to enter the adult-use program.  

Co-location of medical and adult-use cannabis will allow dispensary staff in this field to direct consumers towards medicinal options, protecting the health and welfare of those who may abuse cannabis to treat chronic or undiagnosed conditions.

Mario Cilento, President