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Rhode Island Marijuana Dispensary Sues State Over “Labor Peace” Mandate

Labor Peace Agreements (“LPA”) are nothing new. They generally require employers to agree not to oppose unionization and in return unions usually promise not to strike; sometimes by agreement and sometimes by legal mandate. The concept has become a common element in several state marijuana programs but now a Rhode Island cannabis dispensary is going to federal court to challenge this.

Last year, Rhode Island passed the Rhode Island Cannabis Act which legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. As part of this new legislation, lawmakers required LPAs for newly licensed dispensaries.

In its lawsuit, Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center (“Greenleaf”) asserts the new law violates the U.S. Constitution and the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The suit explains that mandating LPAs deprives employers of their bargaining power, forces them to agree to unfavorable contract terms, and deprives employees of their right to engage in labor activities protected under federal law, such as strikes.

Greenleaf further contends that this has caused and will continue to cause Greenleaf material financial harm. At its core, Greenleaf’s suit seeks to invalidate its contract with its union and eliminate the provisions of the new law mandating LPAs. 


Why should you care?

This is one more example of state legislatures supporting unions.  If it works in the cannabis industry, it encourages legislatures around the country to do the same thing.  As an employer, you should consider supporting opposition such as Greenleaf’s. You also need to consider telling your legislators your opinion.

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with the latest local, state, and federal employment laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.