Teamsters Local 118, a labor union representing over 5,200 hard working members in New York State, has announced its support for the Cannabis Farmers Alliance (CFA). The CFA is a group of New York cannabis farmers who are dedicated to advocating for the rights and interests of cannabis farmers and small businesses.
In a letter to the CFA, Teamsters Local 118 President Tim Barbeto said that the union "supports the CFA's mission to champion the economic stability, growth, and success of their members in the ever-evolving cannabis industry."
Barbeto also said that the union believes that "all workers have the right to unionize and possess a collective voice regarding the conditions of their own employment."
The CFA has been critical of the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) for its decision to allow multi-state operators (MSOs) to enter the New York market three years early, among other concerns. The CFA argues that MSOs will have an unfair advantage over small, independent farmers and that their entry into the market at such an early stage of NY’s legal roll-out efforts will stifle competition and innovation.
Teamsters Local 118 agrees with the CFA's assessment of the situation. In its letter, the union said that "the current market structure pushed by the OCM does not support a cannabis economy that fosters diversity consisting of multiple small to medium-sized businesses."
The union also said that "the Governor's decision to allow MSOs to enter this nascent market 3 years early is an economic blunder that, in the long run, will harm the cannabis industry, the greater New York economy, and ultimately workers' rights."
Teamsters Local 118 is calling on the OCM to reconsider its decision to allow MSOs to enter the New York market early. The union is also calling on the OCM to fast-track the transition of AUCC to macro, three-tiered operators. This would allow AUCCs to attract the same investment as their larger competitors and would help to level the playing field in the New York cannabis market.
The union's support for the CFA is a major boost for the group of independent New York cannabis farmers. The CFA has been fighting for the rights of small, independent farmers for years, and the Teamsters Union's support will help to give the group a stronger voice in the fight to shape the future of the New York cannabis industry.
"The decision to allow MSO/ROs into the New York market early undermines the rights and opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses, especially those represented by social equity and distressed farmers. The stand taken by Teamsters Local 118 and the CFA to resist this early entry exemplifies a dedication to fairness, equality, and the long-term success of the industry," said Joseph Calderone, COO and Chief Compliance Officer of Grateful Valley Farm and member of the Cannabis Farmers Alliance.
In addition to supporting the CFA's efforts to protect the rights of small, independent farmers, Teamsters Local 118 also believes that the cannabis industry has the potential to create a significant number of jobs in New York State. The union estimates that the cannabis industry could create up to 60,000 jobs in the state over the next few years. These jobs would be a boon to the New York economy, and they would help to revitalize rural communities across the state.
According to legacy advocate, Justice Merkel, co-founder and board member of the Cannabis Farmers Alliance, “Absolute fairness is crucial, and we must not sell out this opportunity for quick out-of-state cash. We need to prioritize the success of local communities and ensure they benefit from the potential of federal legalization before MSO buy-in deals expire. Time is of the essence, so let's make the most of it for a more equitable and prosperous future."
Teamsters Local 118 is committed to working with the CFA to ensure that the cannabis industry in New York State is fair and equitable for all workers. The union believes that the cannabis industry has the potential to be a great economic engine for the state, and it is committed to working to make sure that the benefits of the industry are shared by all New Yorkers.