Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C,I-Schoharie) yesterday voted against a bill (A.9283) that would implement a requirement for those seeking temporary adult-use cannabis cultivation and processing licenses to unionize their labor force, speaking out against the financial burden such a requirement would put on farmers who have already been subjected to a flurry of costly new mandates and regulations in recent years.
Within the text of the bill, applicants seeking a temporary license are required to enter a labor peace agreement with a “bona-fide labor organization,” making it difficult for smaller farms with unorganized labor forces to reap any potential gains that could come from the distribution of these licenses.
Tague especially took issue with this bill’s failure to address the well-being of distressed farmers, an element of the original bill legalizing the cultivation of marijuana (A.1248A of 2021) he viewed favorably. The text of the original bill mentioned distressed farmers four times, while the more recent bill regarding provisional licenses failed to reference them whatsoever.
“If this bill served to benefit distressed farmers, or agriculture in general, it is something I would have been happy to support,” said Tague. “Unfortunately, all this bill would do is squander what could have been a meaningful opportunity for our farms to bring in much-needed revenue, while making it even more difficult for all but the large, corporate farms to succeed here in New York state. This bill’s proponents have never milked anything but our state’s taxpayers, and the only thing they’ve ever grown is a bloated state government. I am incredibly disappointed they warped an idea that could have helped our farmers into a proposal that’s just the latest of many threats to their continued viability.”