CATHEDRAL CITY – As the cannabis industry takes a foothold in this community of 56,000 people, workers can rest assured local government has their collective back.

The former City Council, comprised of Mayor Stan Henry, Mayor Pro Tem Gregory S. Pettis, and Councilmembers John Aguilar, Mark Carnevale, and Shelley Kaplan, voted unanimously to approve a Cannabis Industry Labor Peace Agreement.

Any cannabis business with 10 or more full-time equivalent employees will be impacted by the Agreement.

“It’s all about protecting the workers, making sure they get the benefits they deserve as well as the training,” Pettis told Uken Report.

Under the terms of the Cathedral City Municipal Code, business license holders in the cannabis industry are required to renew their local business license annually. The Municipal Code has been amended to now require that licenses cannabis businesses with 10 or more employees enter into a Labor Peace Agreement as a condition of license renewal. Until now, the threshold for a Cathedral City cannabis business was 20 employees.

In short, a Labor Peace Agreement is an agreement a business in the cannabis industry enters into with a union that represents cannabis workers. The agreement includes obligations for both the union and the cannabis employer.

Under the Labor Peace Agreement, the union is required to be neutral in its communications with employees. The union cannot disparage the company and cannot paint the cannabis industry employer in a bad light to employees or to the public. The union must also agree to not disrupt or interfere with the employer’s operations or business, and cannot encourage or engage in a strike, slowdown, or picketing of the company.

Why was this necessary?

“There will be a movement like this statewide,” Pettis said. “We just led the way.”

Since its adoption into law, the Medicinal and Adult Use of Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) has required applicants for state cannabis licenses with twenty (20) or more employees to “provide a statement that the applicant will enter into, or demonstrate that it has already entered into, and abide by the terms of a labor peace agreement.”

The industry, as Pettis suggested, is changing.

On May 24, 2018, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors approved amendments to the city’s Police Code in order to require cannabis industry companies with ten (10) or more employees to submit, as part of their permit application, either (1) a signed labor peace agreement with a union or (2) a signed collective bargaining agreement with a union.

Other cities and counties have similar requirements, including the city of Los Angeles.