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Resolutions & Amendments

42nd International Convention - Las Vegas, NV (2016)

Creating Jobs and Tax Revenue for Public Services with Cannabis Regulation and Legalization

Resolution No. 15
42nd International Convention
Las Vegas Convention Center
July 18 - 22, 2016
Las Vegas, NV


In 2006, the AFSCME International convention delegates endorsed a resolution calling for the legalization of medical cannabis (marijuana). Today, twenty-four states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in some form; and


Confusing state laws around medical cannabis have resulted in lack of access for patients and lack of consistent, clear conditions for distributors, regulators and growers; and


Since 2012, voters in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska voted to allow the legalization, regulation and taxation of cannabis which resulted in a very significant and long-term increase in tax revenue for public services and the substantial creation of new jobs, allowed law enforcement to prioritize its resources and took money out of the hands of drug cartels and criminals; and


In 2015, in the state of Colorado alone, licensed and regulated marijuana stores sold

$996,184,788 worth of recreational and medical cannabis, according to data from the Colorado Department of Revenue. The state also collected over $135 million in taxes and fees, with more than $35 million earmarked for school construction projects; and


Per the Washington Times, sales of legal cannabis in the United States are expected to top $4.5 billion dollars this year; and


Jobs in a legal cannabis industry present a significant chance to organize both new workers and a new industry. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) already represents thousands of workers nationwide in the medical cannabis industry and estimates that cannabis legalization in California alone could generate 100,000 jobs; and


A 2013 report by the ACLU studying cannabis arrests from 2001 to 2010 details that the war on cannabis has been largely directed at people of color. The report finds that between 2001 and 2010 nationwide, there were over 8 million arrests involving cannabis. Eighty-eight percent of these were for simple possession, accounting for 52 percent of all drug-related arrests, at a cost of $3.6 billion. A person of color is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested than a white person, even though rates of use are very similar; and


There is not a single documented case of a person dying solely from cannabis toxicity, unlike the 480,000 annual deaths caused by tobacco use or the 88,000 deaths due to excessive alcohol use. These products, unlike cannabis, are legal, regulated and taxed; and


2016 ballot measures regarding cannabis are expected in Nevada, California, Arizona, Maine, Connecticut, Michigan, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Missouri, Ohio and Vermont.


That AFSCME International support the legalization, strong regulation and clear taxation of cannabis, in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol; and


That AFSCME International and its affiliates support ballot measures or legislation advancing this goal.


SUBMITTED BY: Matt Hilton, President and Delegate

Jennifer Barker, Secretary and Delegate

AFSCME Local 328, Council 75