Amazon changed its marijuana use policy and now is lobbying for legalization

Amazon Changes Its Stance on Marijuana Use

Amazon, the largest retailer in the United States, is going all out for marijuana. Earlier this year the company stopped testing its employees for marijuana use, and this week it announced it will lobby for legalization on a federal level at the same time it encouraged applicants fired or not hired because of marijuana use to reapply.

“Amazon recently announced our support for, and began actively lobbying on, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act),” Beth Galetti, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, wrote in a recent news release. “We are also pleased to endorse the recently introduced Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.”

We’ve found that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows us to expand our applicant pool.

Beth Galetti

The company is among many that want to see changes in federal cannabis laws. At least part of the reason is those companies need to hire people, including in states where marijuana is legal, and it’s becoming more difficult to find employees who haven’t at least tried marijuana.

“As a matter of fairness, we didn’t feel right about denying employment to individuals engaging in off-duty activity that their state has legalized,” the company wrote in a letter to U.S. senators dated Sept. 1. “Second, when reviewing publicly available national data, it appeared that pre-employment marijuana testing disproportionately impacts people of color and acts as a barrier to employment.”

Amazon admits it’s always looking to expand. “Amazon’s pace of growth means that we are always looking to hire great new team members,” Galetti wrote this week. “And we’ve found that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows us to expand our applicant pool.”

Amazon, whose business increased significantly during the pandemic, burns through employees. A report from Business Insider said many workers hired in its fulfillment centers stay with the company only “days or weeks,” and Amazon officials worry the pool for new employees will continue to diminish as more states legalize marijuana.

The company said it will continue to test for impairment on the job and after workplace incidents.

Leland Rucker is a journalist who has been covering the cannabis industry culture since Amendment 64 legalized adult-use in Colorado, for Boulder Weekly, Sensi and now TheNewsStation.com. His full bio is here.

Leland Rucker is a journalist who has been covering the cannabis industry culture since Amendment 64 legalized adult-use in Colorado, for Boulder Weekly, Sensi and now TheNewsStation.com. His full bio is here.

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