New Law Gives Seattle Dispensary Employees Stronger Labor Protections

New Law Gives Seattle Dispensary Employees Stronger Labor Protections

Seattle’s newly enacted ordinance gives workers at the city’s cannabis dispensaries strong labor protections and is part of leaders’ ongoing efforts to make the cannabis industry fairer.

ordinanceThe law, which took effect last Wednesday, requires employers of eligible retiring cannabis businesses to post “written notice of a change of control” and provide “preferred hiring lists to incoming cannabis employers,” while also requiring incoming employers to “employ eligible employees for a specified period after the change” and to comply with “other hiring and retention requirements.”

Seattle Labor Standards Authority Director Stephen Marches said the agency is “committed to promoting, educating and enforcing Seattle’s latest labor standards.”

Marchese said the new law, known as the Cannabis Employee Retention Act, “will protect workers in this industry, provide a stable workplace and a stronger workforce, and contribute to improving the Seattle economy as a whole.”

Local cannabis activist Cody Funderburke, who works in the cannabis industry and is a former member of the local cannabis union, said: called The Cannabis Employee Retention Ordinance is a “monumental step to protect the rights of cannabis industry employees.”

“The effect of this law is to improve job security for thousands of employees in the Washington state cannabis industry. As the cannabis industry continues to change and evolve rapidly, workers deserve reassurance that their lives are safe,” Funderburke said. Said in a statement.

A press release from the Bureau of Labor Standards said the new ordinance reflects the City of Seattle and Mayor Bruce Harrell’s pledge to “improve equitable outcomes in the cannabis industry and clarify issues raised in the ordinance, such as provisions on preferential hiring, job offers and dismissal for cause.”

Last summer, Harrell introduced three bills to the Seattle City Council aimed at promoting diversity in the local cannabis industry.

The three bills sought to require: According to the press release Harrell’s office at the time said: “Creation of a city-level social equity license aimed at reducing barriers to opening cannabis stores for underrepresented communities and communities most affected by the war on drugs. Work with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Commission to lay the groundwork for future cannabis-related businesses that will issue licenses through a social equity framework. Ensure transparency to employees regarding the ownership rights of cannabis retail license holders. Created for hotel employees in 2019. Similar to protection, require 90-day retention of store employees when ownership changes Work with the City Council to create short-term cannabis advisory committees elected to gather input from workers, community members and industry leaders on cannabis equity and needs Conduct needs assessments to understand additional steps to make the industry more robust and sustainable for diverse communities Work with counties and communities to advance efforts to reverse pre-2014 cannabis-related crime convictions Developing state and federal legislative agendas that promote cannabis equity, improved safety, capital spending, and access to banking services.”

Harrell said the proposals were designed to help the city’s cannabis industry continue to evolve.

“As the cannabis industry continues to develop, we must reorient and support communities that are too often marginalized. Equity in this industry means safe working conditions and fair treatment of workers, store ownership including communities most affected by the war on drugs, and a commitment to equity, innovation and opportunity,” Harrell said.

Alexandra Solorio
Introducing Alexandra, an accomplished cannabis writer who has passionately pursued her craft for a decade. Through a decade-long journey, Alexandra has cultivated a profound connection with the cannabis world, translating her expertise into captivating prose. From unraveling the plant's rich history to exploring its therapeutic marvels and legal evolution, she has adeptly catered to both connoisseurs and newcomers. An unwavering advocate, Alexandra's words not only enlighten but also advocate responsible cannabis use, establishing her as an indispensable industry voice over the past ten years.

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