As businesses across the country look to capitalize on the “green rush” from states’ expanded medical and adult use cannabis laws, unions are also eager to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this burgeoning, and quickly maturing, industry. For instance, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has formed a cannabis-focused division and is actively representing cannabis workers in many states and seeking to expand to others. These unions may also get a boost from legislative action in certain states. Under New Jersey’s proposed cannabis expansion law, for example, licensee applicants who have entered into a labor peace agreement or a collective bargaining agreement receive preference in the license competition. Expect unions to seek to represent workers in cannabis-related construction, retail, farming, cultivation, security, and processing.
Savvy employer takeaways: Employers operating in and/or servicing the cannabis industry should consider and plan for the potential impact of labor unions in their industry.
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