Amazon Now Supports Federal Cannabis Legalization

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The effort to legalize cannabis on the federal level won a powerful ally: e-commerce and media giant Amazon. The company announced on Monday that its public policy arm now supports a cannabis legalization bill that was reintroduced in the House late last month.

 

Amazon also announced that it changed its drug testing policy and the company will no longer disqualify employees for marijuana use.

In a blog post published on Tuesday, Dave Clark, the head of Amazon’s global consumer division, wrote about how the company has evolved its thinking concerning cannabis as 17 states have legalized adult-use and over 30 states allow some form of medical marijuana.

“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,” Clark wrote. “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.” 

Clark said Amazon will continue “impairment checks” for employees on the job and will test for all drugs and alcohol after any incident.

Amazon is also taking its change of heart around cannabis to Washington. Clark said the company’s public policy team will be “actively supporting” the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act), a federal bill reintroduced to the House by Representative Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill, which passed the House last year, would legalize cannabis federally by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act. It would also expunge criminal marijuana records and invest in communities impacted by marijuana prohibition.

“We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law,” Clark wrote.

 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised that he and Sens. Cory Booker and Ron Wyden will introduce their cannabis legalization bill, but he hasn’t issued a timeline.

State legalization has spread across the country. At this point, more than 40% of Americans now live in a state where marijuana is allowed for those over 21 and the legal industry is expected to hit $100 billion in annual sales by 2030.

The announcement from Amazon is welcome news to the cannabis industry, which has been rooting for federal legalization.

Ben Kovler, the CEO and founder of cannabis company Green Thumb Industries, celebrated Amazon’s support of marijuana.

“Change is coming to America. Amazon is a leader and we applaud their progressive common sense approach to cannabis,” Kovler wrote on Twitter.

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