Organized Labor Assists Marijuana Legalization Effort In California

CALIFORNIA:  Organized labor is assisting efforts to frame a California ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana use in the state, sensing an opportunity to expand its presence in the workplace.

The United Food and Commercial Workers’ Western States Council commissioned a series of focus groups, where likely voters across the state filed into rooms with one-way mirrors to share opinions, The Sacramento Bee reported. The research is aimed at shaping a legalization initiative for the 2016 ballot.

The labor council, an umbrella group for 160,000 grocery and other workers across the state, already has a foothold in the marijuana industry, representing about 1,000 workers in medical cannabis jobs. Jim Araby, its executive director, said it wants to be involved early in the ballot effort and ensure that a proposal contains strong labor protections.