Labor union seeks better protection for CA's marijuana workers
- The United Food and Commercial Workers, one of the nation’s largest labor unions, is pushing California to enact legislation to protect marijuana workers, reports Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.
- The union helped get marijuana legalized last year and put Proposition 64, which called for the strictest testing, packaging and labeling of marijuana, on the ballot this month. The union also organized California marijuana workers in 2010, the first to do so, signaling that it intends to organize the workers Reveal uncovered. It has 1,200 card-carrying members in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.
- Regulators will issue growers’ licenses in 2018 under the new law. All the state’s marijuana workers will receive the same protections. California’s Occupational Health and Safety Division can create legal protections for the marijuana industry, but only after receiving public comments, which must be submitted by Nov. 30.
As more states legalize marijuana, there will be fewer protections for marijuana workers, as the United Food and Commercial Workers union points out. But employers who hire workers that can legally smoke for medicinal use must also be prepared for coming legal changes.
As before, employers must be concerned about the safety risks and possible impairment the drug could cause in the workplace, especially for company drivers or workers operating heavy machinery. Usual drug testing policies still apply. But as laws change regarding the legality of the drug, policies (when appropriate) may need to adjust to reflect growing acceptance of it.