This Is Not a Cannabis Issue

As the premier business advocacy organization for the Alameda Business Community, the Alameda Chamber of Commerce is duty bound to keep abreast of actions proposed by the City of Alameda that effect the local business environment. In this regard, we have recently been mindful of the City Council’s efforts to respond to the legalization of the recreational use of cannabis in the State of California.

The City is in the process of reviewing its moratorium on allowing the establishment of cannabis related businesses in the City of Alameda. A prerequisite to lifting the ban is developing sufficient regulations, that coincide with those set forth by the State, to codify to what extent cannabis related activities will be allowed, including the issuance of permits, potential fees, the types of businesses allowed, distance of said businesses from schools, along with several other areas where regulation will be required.

The Alameda Chamber of Commerce recognizes that, though the use of cannabis may be controversial, its legalization carries considerable ramifications for the Alameda Business Environment and its regulation may set unwanted precedence for small businesses in other industries on our Island.

This letter is meant to address the Alameda Chamber’s concern regarding specific language within the Alameda City Staff’s draft ordinance that states in Section 6-59.5, paragraph m., “For an applicant with ten (10) or more employees, the applicant must provide either a statement that the applicant will enter into, or provide a copy of a fully executed labor peace agreement as part of the application.”

A Labor Peace Agreement, usually reserved for larger workforce industries such as hotels, restaurants, and often public service employees, is an agreement between an employer and the union in which an employer agrees not to resist the union’s organizing attempts.

The Labor Peace recommendation for the Alameda cannabis ordinance is of particular concern because State Legislation AB-1686, which seeks to give guidance regarding the labor peace agreement issue, recommends that a Labor Peace Agreement only apply to cannabis business with 20 or more employees.

 However, this is not cannabis issue. Labor peace ordinances, such as the one to regulate Alameda’s Cannabis Industry, have one essential purpose: to apply economic pressure on employers to compel them to grant organizing concessions to unions.

It is the Alameda Chamber’s position that the City’s recommendation to mandate a labor peace agreement for cannabis businesses with 10 employees, half the number required by California State legislation, may set a dangerous precedent that could put an undue burden on businesses in other industries wishing to be a part of the Alameda Business Community.

While the Chamber respects the rights of employees to voluntarily establish union representation, we are not in favor of government mandates that reduce the ability of small businesses to compete with their larger counterparts.

We submit that the Labor Peace Agreement mandate recommended by City staff in the draft cannabis regulation ordinance is a detriment to small business and must be met with vigor and commitment in order to protect the rights of small business and promote economic growth and prosperity.

The Alameda Chamber stands with small business and calls on Alamedans to stand with us in requesting that the Alameda City Council be guided by State AB-1686 which requires cannabis businesses with 20 or more employees enter into a Labor Peace Agreement.