420 Employees

The California legislature recently enacted the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.  The Act consists of three separate bills which create a comprehensive state licensing system for the commercial cultivation, sale, transport, and distribution of medical marijuana.  Assuming the Act is signed into law by California’s Governor Jerry Brown, January 1, 2016 is its effective date.  Any person operating pursuant to the Act must abide by its many regulations—including those that apply to the employer-employee relationship.  
As discussed in our prior blog (Series of Medical Marijuana Bills Pass Legislature), different permissions—or licenses—apply depending on the employer’s involvement in the industry.  The Act mandates and controls certain employment relationships.  For example, any employer operating under a cultivation license is considered an “agricultural employer” as defined by California’s Alatore-Zenovich-Dunlap-Berman Agricultural Labor Relations Act and gives jurisdiction to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (which also had its powers expanded via other legislative action this year).  In another example, any employer in the industry who has 20 or more employees is required to enter into a labor peace agreement—basically an agreement between the employer and a union in which one or both agree to waive federal rights with regard to union activity.
In short, employers and employees in California’s Medical Marijuana industry should expect to be as heavily regulated as the product.