In a blog post titled “Update on our vision to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work” from June 1, 2021, Dave Clark, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer, wrote that the corporate giant will no longer be screening potential U.S. operations employees for cannabis use. Citing the shifting political landscape regarding cannabis in the U.S., Clark explained, “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.”
In addition, Clark also shared that Amazon’s public policy team will be actively supporting The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act) of 2021. Recently reintroduced in Congress, the MORE Act would end the criminalization of cannabis by removing it from the list of drugs scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act, automatically expunge the criminal records of thousands of individuals charged and convicted of federal cannabis crimes, and invest money back into communities disproportionately impacted by the deleterious effects of the War on Drugs and specifically, cannabis prohibition.
Considering Amazon’s status as the second-largest private employer in the U.S. (behind Walmart), this announcement raises a couple of significant questions. For one, will Amazon’s public stance on cannabis have any impact or sway on pushing the needle forward for federal legalization and public policy? And two, is Amazon positioning itself to enter into the cannabis retail space once federal legalization is achieved?
Only time will tell and provide us the answers to these questions, but Amazon’s public position on cannabis is significant and is a marked shift that will hopefully urge other private employers to follow suit and adopt more commonsense policies surrounding the safe and legal use of cannabis.
*Check out this Op-Ed from Leafly for more about the possible implications of Amazon entering the cannabis retail space: