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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 08 July 2024

On July 5, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 delivered over 163,000 signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State for verification of IP 35, about 46,000 more than what is required to qualify for the November ballot. Once verified, the initiative turned ballot measure is expected to appear on the 2024 general election ballot statewide.

“Simply put, the ballot measure will require any cannabis dispensary or processor to enter into a labor peace agreement affirming the right of their workers to form a union if they so choose. When Oregon first legalized cannabis, it did not build in worker protections that other states, such as California, New York,and New Jersey did. Because of vague federal laws, some employers have refused to acknowledge workers’ rights. This measure makes such acknowledgement part of the licensure process,” sad Miles Eshaia, communications coordinator for the union. 

“What we’ve seen in the last few years is that Oregon’s cannabis licensing process has a lot of holes, regulation is sloppy, and safety violations are rampant, forcing the better employers to compete against the rotten ones that freely cut corners. Collectively bargained safety standards allow workers to enforce safety violations as a contractual issue. In addition to improving worker’s rights, this measure will help to bring Oregon’s cannabis industry out of the dark, further legitimizing it,” Dan Clay, president of the union, said.

“Cannabis workers lack the protections to speak out about safety and product standards. We’ve heard the same stories from cannabis workers across the state. Toxic chemicals, unchecked pests and fire hazards plague the Oregon cannabis industry. Employers are cutting corners at every step at the cost of workers and consumers. When workers try to speak out about safety concerns or products that don’t meet state regulations, they’re met with intimidation because they lack the protections other workers have. The reality is, when you buy weed in Oregon, you don’t know if it meets basic consumer standards and you don’t know whose life was put in danger to make it,” said Sandy Humphrey, union secretary-treasurer.. 

Verification of signatures must be completed by the Oregon Secretary of State before August 5.

Full measure text available at https://sos.oregon.gov/admin/Documents/irr/2024/035text.pdf

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