Amazon change policy and go 'Pro-Cannabis'.

Liz Filmer
24 Jun 2021

Online retail giant Amazon have announced that they will no longer drug test potential employees for cannabis for the majority of job roles. They have also announced that they are publicly backing the MORE act, in an attempt to federally legalise cannabis in the US.

 The CEO of retail giant Amazon's worldwide consumer division, Dave Clark, announced on June 1st via a blog post that Amazon would no longer subject US applicants to drug testing for cannabis use for most job positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation delivery drivers.

The change has come about through the amending of Amazon's policies as it aims to become "the best employer on earth" and offer employees the world's safest workplace. 

Until now, like the large majority of employers, Amazon's policy was to reject job applicants who tested positive for cannabis use, regardless of job suitability or experience.

In the blog, Clark is quoted as saying, "where state laws are moving across the US, we've changed our course". "Amazon will no longer include cannabis in any drug screening program for any job roles not regulated by the Department of Transportation".  Instead, they will treat cannabis use in the same way as alcohol use.

Clark also announced the intentions of Amazon to support the push for the federal legalisation of cannabis. This includes lobbying for the recent legislation introduced in the US House of Representatives by New York Democrat Rep and the House Judiciary Committee chair, Jerry Nadler. 

The legislation in question is the MORE act of 2021: The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. This legislation would see cannabis descheduled from the Controlled Substances Act and legalised federally.  It would also expunge the criminal records of those charged with or incarcerated on cannabis-related charges, enact various social justice reforms, and invest in impacted communities. The MORE act also proposes that cannabis products be subject to a 5% tax to fund criminal and social reform projects.

Amazon stated via Clark's blog post that "we hope that other employers will join us and that the policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law".

The cannabis community has generally welcomed Amazon's announcement. However, some are cynical about the companies motives and suggest that the statement may be a way of getting rid of a policy that makes the recruitment process more difficult. 

It is also suggested that Amazon may be positioning itself for a front-row position should federal legalisation happen. Some say that given Amazon's position as one of the world's largest retailers with a ready-made delivery platform, a move for them into selling or delivering legal cannabis would be inevitable.  

Overall, however, the move is seen as a positive step forward to destigmatise and legalise cannabis use.  Hopefully, it will set a precedent for other large companies to follow.

Liz Filmer