Amazon, the world’s largest e-commerce company has taken steps to support the federal legalisation of cannabis in the US. Additionally, it promises to halt marijuana screenings for its staff and potential workers.
On Tuesday, Dave Clark, Amazon’s Chief of Retail, wrote a detailed blog about the substantial changes Amazon has planned for its US operations. A significant part of the blog focused on their plans to support the legalisation of cannabis.
Supporting the federal legalisation of cannabis
In the blog, Clark professed that Amazon will be actively backing The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (the MORE Act). This act has been brought forward to the House again and aims to decriminalise marijuana at the federal level. Not only that but the act aims to expunge criminal records of people convicted for cannabis possession and also proposes investment into poorer communities affected by the US war on drugs.
The bill was reintroduced to the US Congress last week due to rapid changes in state policy across the States. With so many states, including New York, making strides to legalise cannabis, federal offices felt the pressure to keep up with the pace.
Amazon is one of the biggest employers in the US, employing over 1.2 million Americans in 2020. With the backing of Amazon, many are optimistic that the More Act will do much better than the first time it was submitted to the US Congress.
Amazon’s chief of retail believes that they will not be alone in supporting the More Act. He wrote, “We (Amazon) hope other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law.”
If more large companies make their support for the bill public, it is sure to put more pressure on politicians and policymakers to approve it.
Adjusting their drug testing policy
Within the company, Amazon made some changes to become more supportive of cannabis as well. The blog post claimed the e-commerce giant will be adjusting its drug testing policy for some of its employees.
The plan is to remove cannabis from the list of drugs tested in its drug screening program. Marijuana will still be tested for any positions regulated by the US Department of Transportation. Also, after incidents at work, Amazon will continue to perform impairment checks that test for all drugs including cannabis and alcohol.
Nonetheless, for many office and warehouse workers, marijuana checks will not be carried out in their drug test. In addition, the pre-employment drug test will no longer include marijuana. This is considered to many a great step in the right direction.
“In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use,” Clark stated. “However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course.”
With two major pledges by Amazon in the last couple of days, the US seems to be approaching what seems like the inevitable, a state where cannabis is treated and accepted in the same way as alcohol. Amazon’s recent moves to not include cannabis in drug tests could encourage other larger employees to follow suit. Also, their powerful presence backing the More Act could be significant in changing many policymakers’ opinions on the legalisation of marijuana.