Labor Protections Under Federal Cannabis Prohibition and the Future of Cannabis Unions

Ohio State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 738

Drug Enforcement and Policy Center No. 59, November 2022

11 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2022

See all articles by Jenna Pletcher

Jenna Pletcher

Ohio State University (OSU), Michael E. Moritz College of Law, Students

Date Written: November 3, 2022

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Cannabis businesses, unionization in the cannabis industry, labor peace agreements, LPA’s, National Labor Relations Act, NLRA, labor law, cannabis industry

Suggested Citation

Pletcher, Jenna, Labor Protections Under Federal Cannabis Prohibition and the Future of Cannabis Unions (November 3, 2022). Ohio State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 738, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center No. 59, November 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4267483 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4267483

Jenna Pletcher (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU), Michael E. Moritz College of Law, Students ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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