PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — One of Rhode Island’s longest-running marijuana dispensaries has filed suit over the state’s budding cannabis legalization law, challenging a requirement that retailers enter into labor agreements with workers in order to sell marijuana.
Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center claims it was “coerced into entering an oppressive collective bargaining agreement” because of the state law, which passed in 2022.
The Rhode Island General Assembly legalized cannabis last year with an expansive law called the Rhode Island Cannabis Act. It allowed people to legally possess and grow marijuana for recreational use, expunged existing marijuana convictions, and also set up a process for retail sales.
Tucked into the 125-page law is a provision that dispensaries — including those that existed before the law passed — enter into “labor peace agreements” with a “bona fide labor organization” in order to be licensed to sell cannabis by the state of Rhode Island.
Greenleaf has been open in Portsmouth, a town on Aquidneck Island, since 2013, when only medical marijuana was allowed. Existing medical dispensaries like Greenleaf were allowed to start selling recreational cannabis in December 2022, but had to first seek a hybrid license from the state.
In the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court