Article: Cannabis Legislation: Labor Rights and Equity

Article: Cannabis Legislation: Labor Rights and Equity
CANNANNEW REPORT

Considering the Curaleaf Juneteenth action this is probably worth reading… The legal cannabis industry is currently one of the fastest-growing employers in the U.S. Since 2017, the number of Americans working with cannabis has grown each year by at least 27%. In just the last year alone, the industry grew by 33% and now employs up to 428,000 American workers. Part of the reason for this explosive growth is that many of those who left their jobs in retail and restaurants during the “Great Resignation” are flocking to dispensaries for better benefits and opportunities. Unfortunately, the improved working conditions within the cannabis industry are disproportionately unavailable to Black and brown communities. But state legislators are crafting inventive ways to address this racial inequity. Thanks to a burgeoning labor movement, those who work with cannabis enjoy better wages and a stronger protection of labor rights than those who work in similar industries. For example in Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, cannabis industry unions have established wage floors for trimmers and cultivators ranging from $15 to $21 an hour. Conversely, the median hourly wage for similar workers (farmworkers and laborers in nurseries and greenhouses) in the same states range between $13 to $16 an hour. Wage comparisons show that the cannabis industry’s minimum is the median for other agricultural workers — meaning that the lowest-paid cannabis trimmers and cultivators are still better paid than at least half of the workers doing similar jobs with different plants. Cannabis unions have also secured strong benefits for its members. Union contracts formed by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in California; Washington, D.C.; Minnesota; New Jersey; New York; Pennsylvania; and Washington all include provisions to give employees access to paid sick days and time off, as well as health insurance and retirement benefits. The victories won by labor unions in the…

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