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NAACP Calls for Workers’ Rights and Federal Cannabis Rescheduling

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held its 114th NAACP National Convention where it renewed its backing for federal cannabis reform.

It also called on the government to protect workers’ rights in the cannabis industry as “the majority of people in the cannabis industry will be workers rather than owners; and the workers who grow, process, test, distribute, and sell cannabis deserve a fair and safe workplace and family-sustaining job like every other worker…”

The NAACP believes that giving cannabis workers access to union representation, as well as training and apprenticeships will help ensure that workers can benefit from the cannabis industry. In particular, it hopes this will support workers from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition in the past.

NAACP CEO Derrick Johnson stated: “As the cannabis industry continues to expand, we must center Black interests for both workers and entrepreneurs, as one of the ways to right the decades-long injustices we have faced at the hands of the ‘War on Drugs’.

“Over the past several years, the cannabis industry has seen exponential growth and prosperity without progress for Black workers. This cannot continue.

“The NAACP is committed to ensuring that as this industry grows, benefits to Black workers grow with it. That’s what thriving together looks like.“

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The resolution states that: “…the NAACP calls for the legalisation and de-scheduling of cannabis at the federal level and reaffirms its past resolutions on cannabis, the cannabis industries, decriminalisation, and equity, and expresses an intent to advocate for federal, state, and local medical and adult-use cannabis legislation that includes labor peace agreements as a condition of licensure and ensures that all cannabis workers from cultivation to sale to delivery are treated as employees under the National Labor Relations Act, Fair Labor Standards Act and Occupational Safety and Health Administration; including the right to join, form or organise a union.”

The President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), Marc Perrone, welcomed the news, stating: “We applaud the NAACP for passing an Emergency Resolution on Behalf of Cannabis Workers.

“This marks a crucial step forward in making sure employers and legislators understand the profound impact that a worker-friendly cannabis industry could have on people of color. Cannabis industry workers, like every other worker, deserve safe workplaces and family-sustaining jobs.

“This is especially true for the formerly incarcerated and others disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs.

“As America’s cannabis union, we again thank the NAACP for this resolution and for acknowledging the importance of cannabis organising in achieving racial equity and making sure workers’ voices are heard at every level of the cannabis industry.”

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