Tuesday, January 3, 2023
"Labor Protections Under Federal Cannabis Prohibition and the Future of Cannabis Unions"
As I have recently mentioned, after a very busy Fall semester, I am catching up on the posting of some recently produced papers that are part of the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. As I seek to catch up in the days ahead, as I continue to relish the chance to highlight great work by OSU law students and recent graduates. The title of this post is the title of this paper authored by Jenna Pletcher who is in the midst of her 3L year at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Here is its abstract of her paper:
America’s legal cannabis market is growing exponentially and more states are beginning to legalize cannabis products. Currently, the legal cannabis industry supports 428,059 workers nationally, and it is predicted that a mature cannabis market would support 1.5 million to 1.75 million workers. However, it can be unclear what legal protections are offered to these workers under a federal prohibition regime.
The basic right of workers to form a union is protected by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). However, the NLRA does not protect agricultural workers, and it is not clear which positions in the cannabis industry are considered “agricultural.” In addition, it is unclear whether the National Labor Relations Board will consistently exert jurisdiction over retail workers in a federally prohibited recreational marijuana industry. This paper will evaluate the applicability of the NLRA to the cannabis industry, the policy concerns surrounding the use of labor peace agreements to fill in gaps left by federal labor laws, and what widespread unionization could mean for a quickly growing sector of the economy.