Amazon is supporting efforts to reform the nation’s restrictive cannabis policy

Amazon is supporting efforts to reform the nation’s restrictive cannabis policy

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

In June 2021, Amazon announced that it will ban cannabis from its comprehensive pre-employment drug screening program for all unregulated positions. 

Such positions include those that are not regulated by the Department of Transportation. Now, the American multinational e-commerce company has also publicly declared its support for two prominent cannabis reform measures.

“We also reinstated the employment eligibility for former employees and applicants who were previously terminated or deferred during random or pre-employment [cannabis] screenings,” say company officials, who noted that they made the changes for a few specific reasons.

Firstly, the Amazon team acknowledged the fact that a growing number of U.S. states are edging ever-closer to cannabis legalization; to some extent. Because of this, it is becoming increasingly difficult to integrate pre-employment cannabis testing programs into the workplace.

Secondly, according to national data, pre-employment cannabis drug screening unfairly targets people of color. Consequently, this imposes a barrier preventing people from disproportionately-impacted communities gaining employment in the industry.

Finally, moving forwards, Amazon officials claim that their world-famous company’s fast-paced growth demands a more streamlined employment application approach that does not include tedious cannabis drug screening procedures.

Amazon recently started lobbying for the MORE Act

Over the years, Amazon has not been shy about supporting cannabis legalization, but the company’s latest efforts demonstrate growing acceptance for the plant. Most recently, the Seattle-headquartered company announced its support for (and started promoting) the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act)

According to the legislative framework featured in the MORE Act, cannabis would be eliminated from the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), thus granting states the power to determine cannabis policy within their jurisdictions. 

Amazon is also proud to be endorsing the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which would deschedule the green plant, order federal agencies to establish regulations and impose a federal excise tax on all legally-sold cannabis products.

“We strongly believe the time has come to reform the nation’s cannabis policy, and we are committed to helping lead the effort,” say Amazon officials.

Pre-employment cannabis testing has disproportionately affected communities of color

There’s a good reason why Amazon officials want to eradicate the cannabis drug testing requirement for prospective employees because the process has negatively impacted communities of color for much too long. 

“We believe this inequitable treatment is unacceptable,” company officials wrote on their website as they referred to the fact that pre-employment cannabis drug testing can hinder the process of job placement, in addition to economic growth. 

“As we shared earlier this year, we aim to become Earth’s Best Employer, and as part of that journey, we know that our local communities and future generations need us to be better every day—thus the creation of our new Leadership Principle, Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility.”

In an effort to curb unfair treatment, Amazon will adopt a fresh approach to pre-employment screening by advocating for equitable workplaces, as well as support ongoing efforts to reform the nation’s drug policy.

“Together, these principles speak to our responsibility to effect change and are our impetus for both driving for societal change and maintaining the right internal policies to ensure a great workplace with equitable and consistent hiring practices for all candidates.”