Amazon advocates for federal cannabis legalization

Amazon advocates for federal cannabis legalization

Technology giant Amazon is supporting a Republican-steered bill to federally legalize, regulate and tax cannabis. 

The Seattle-headquartered company, which is acknowledged as the second-biggest private employer in the United States, is “pleased to endorse” the legislation.

Introduced by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), the legislation received backing from Amazon’s public policy division after she submitted the States Reform Act for consideration last November. 

The Act was introduced as an alternative to more limited GOP proposals and Democratic-embraced cannabis reform bills.

Like so many in this country, we believe it’s time to reform the nation’s cannabis policy and Amazon is committed to helping lead the effort,” said Amazon officials, who have announced their support for Democratic-led legalization in the past.

Amazon has long been focused on updating cannabis policies

For some time, Amazon has been focused on amending cannabis policies on an internal level. Just last year, the internationally-acclaimed company enacted an employment policy change to scrap drug testing policy mandates for workers.

Some months later, after the States Reform Act was introduced, Mace arranged a meeting with Amazon officials. It was during the meeting that the freshman congresswoman’s bill received an all-important endorsement from the company.

“They don’t want to sell it,” said Mace, who noted that Amazon is primarily focused on broadening hiring opportunities. “It opens up the hiring pool by about 10 percent.”

Industry stakeholders and cannabis reform lobbyists applauded Amazon’s drug testing decision.

What does the States Reform Act entail?

A number of equity provisions are included in Mace’s bill, including an excise tax and expungements for people with non-violent cannabis convictions on their criminal records. 

Based on the bill’s language, the excise tax would be divided among Small Business Administration (SBA) activities, law enforcement efforts and community reinvestment programs.

According to the vice president of public policy at Amazon, Brian Huseman, the States Reform Act “offers comprehensive reform that speaks to the emergence of a bipartisan consensus to end the federal prohibition of cannabis.”

Furthermore, the Act ensures that people who test positive for the psychoactive compound THC can redeem their employment eligibility.

Amazon officials claim that evidence exists to prove that drug testing “disproportionately impacts people of color and acts as a barrier to employment.” Because of this, elimination of the requirement will expand the company’s job applicant pool.

Although the measure which is supported by Americans for Prosperity – would effectively end federal cannabis prohibition, businesses that are currently operating in legal cannabis markets would not be disturbed by the updated federal rules.