A clear set of standards and training requirements for workers in the cannabis industry is key to voter support of a potential marijuana legalization measure in 2016, according to the findings of a new statewide survey released today by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council. The poll, conducted by the nationally acclaimed David Binder Research firm, surveyed likely November 2016 voters March 23rd-26th, 2015 by cell phone and landline.
"Our survey found voters largely have misconceptions that consumer protections like employee training and licensing already exist in the medical cannabis industry, and strengthening these protections is widely supported among likely voters and the swing voters needed to build support for legalizing marijuana for recreational use," said Binder. "This first statewide poll to test voters' understanding of such consumer protections makes clear that pro-legalization voters expect licensing, training and certification for industry workers."
Among those voters who signaled support for marijuana legalization after hearing arguments for and against a potential ballot measure, the majority said standards requiring employee training make them more likely to support legalization. Among demographic groups whose support is key if a legalization ballot measure were to pass in California, these consumer protection standards become even more important. For example, 64% of Democratic women under age 50 reported that employee standards would make them more likely to support such a measure, 17% more than the electorate as a whole.
The survey comes as Legislators are considering two bills, AB 34 (Bonta) and AB 266 (Cooley) that would increase regulation of an industry that currently operates under few rules. AB 266 and AB 34 will be heard in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on Wednesday, April 28.
"We are pleased to see that legislators are recognizing the need to professionalize the medical marijuana workforce and to keep the industry in the hands of legitimate operators who have worker safety in mind," said Jim Araby, Executive Director of UFCW Western States Council. "As these measures move through the legislative process, workers will advocate for strong protections and for an apprenticeship program to train workers in safety and best practices."