Republicans are strongly pushing back on a proposed rule that they claim would force pot industry businesses to unionize before they could get a state license.
The Whitmer administration denies the charge but one Republican senator is claiming this is no different that buying protection from the mob.
That administration is considering a rule that says before you get a state marijuana license, you need to sign a peace agreement with a labor union.
The head of the state marijuana regulatory agency says that is needed to make sure work stoppages don’t cripple this industry.
Anthony Brisbo of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency says, “if there were a work stoppage, any labor dispute in this industry it is going to trigger a move by consumers back to the illicit market where they can source those products.”
But the Republican chairman was not buying it..he called this proposed rule forced unionization and he accused the governor of trying to reward labor.
“They are basically forcing unionization on these companies,” said Sen. Aric Nesbitt. “This brand-new industry. This is just a payback from the administration to the union bosses and its very sad to see.”
The senator believes, ala Al Capone, this is just like the mob telling businesses they have to pay protection money or else.
In a hearing, Mr. Brisbo called the mob reference a stretch and not a mandate to unionize.
Brisbo: “With all due respect, Mr. Chairman, that seems like a stretch to compare a regulatory requirement to have a legal labor peace agreement with do the heavy hand and or so forth for state government or the mob..”
Sen. Nesbitt: “So how is a protection racket any any different than a scheme protecting from economic interference?”
Brisbo: “We’re trying to establish cooperative agreements between operators and those who have an interest in the industry.”
The chair asked Mr. Brisbo to withdraw the rule.
He would not because input on it is still being taken.