The country’s leading e-commerce company Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) posted a notice to its U.S. Operations employees from Dave Clark, CEO, Worldwide Consumer regarding the testing for marijuana use with its employees.
The blog post read, “We’re adjusting our drug testing policy. In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use. However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course. We will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation, and will instead treat it the same as alcohol use. We will continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for all drugs and alcohol after any incident.”
The post went on to say, “And because we know that this issue is bigger than Amazon, our public policy team will be actively supporting The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act)—federal legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge criminal records, and invest in impacted communities. We hope that other employers will join us and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law.”
The move could set a precedent for other larger employers across the board as Amazon has now laid down the challenge.
Steve Allan, CEO of The Parent Company said, “Amazon’s recent announcement that it has evolved its position on cannabis both as an employer and through its public advocacy efforts represents a watershed moment in the long-standing effort to federally legalize cannabis, reform our criminal justice system, and create a more socially equitable society. As one of the largest employers in the country, Amazon’s announcement that it will no longer screen job applicants and employees for cannabis use, unless required to do so by the Department of Transportation, sets a robust precedent that has the potential to reshape hiring practices across the country.
Employment drug tests were adopted at the height of the War on Drugs in the late 1980’s, and in the ensuing decades these unnecessary tests disproportionately impacted low-income Americans and communities of color, limiting their access to economic opportunity. By helping establish a norm against such discriminatory hiring practices, Amazon can help undo one of the most damaging legacies of cannabis criminalization in this country.
Amazon’s complementary announcement that it will be publicly advocating for the passage of The MORE Act is also highly significant and unprecedented for a company of its size. The MORE Act would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, expunge the criminal records of non-violent cannabis offenders, and allocate tax revenue generated by the legal cannabis industry to communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs. We at The Parent Company have always felt that the private sector plays such a critical role in pushing for equitable, progressive cannabis legislation. Due to the public clout of companies like Amazon, their support for progressive cannabis reforms will prove instrumental as we approach the final stages of federal legalization. “