by Nancy Lavin, Rhode Island Current
July 11, 2023
Amid growing tensions with its workers over labor standards and unionization, a Portsmouth marijuana dispensary is taking aim at the state’s recreational cannabis law.
Greenleaf Compassion Center filed a complaint in federal court on Monday, contending that the marijuana legalization law signed in May 2022 violates the U.S. Constitution and national labor standards. The lawsuit comes on the heels of a second settlement agreement between the company and its workers for alleged federal labor law violations.
The sweeping Rhode Island Cannabis Act established a process to legalize, tax and sell marijuana, while expunging civil and criminal records for marijuana possession. A single-page section of the 125-page document requires all retailers to enter into “labor peace agreements” with their workers, which allow employees to unionize in exchange for not picketing, boycotting or stopping work.
Which is where Greenleaf takes issue, alleging that the labor agreement requirement “deprives employers of their bargaining power, forces them to agree to unfavorable terms, and deprives employees of their right to engage in labor activities protected under federal law, such as strikes.”
Specifically, the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island says