Cannabis has been legalised in a number of states and is used by millions of Americans for medicinal or recreational purposes, despite the fact that it is not yet federally authorised. Many Americans, regardless of whether they live in a state where cannabis is legal or not, face the very real risk of losing their jobs if they test positive for cannabis during pre-employment or random drug screens.
To combat this, Amazon, one of the largest employers in the United States, has announced that it will no longer test employees for cannabis during pre-employment or random drug screens. The multibillion-dollar corporation also stated that it supports the MORE (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement) Act. The measure, which passed the House of Representatives in late 2020, would remove cannabis from the banned substances list, where it is now classified as a Schedule 1 substance, decriminalising it federally (but not making it legal).
The MORE Act would be the largest federal step toward legalisation to date. Though it does not guarantee passage, Amazon’s support for the bill is important and will have a significant impact.
For Better or Worse, Amazon’s Marijuana Policy Has Wide-Reaching Consequences
Because Amazon is one of, if not the most powerful company in the world, the policies it promotes have a large impact on society. Though the notion of a single mega-corporation wielding as much cultural and political clout as Amazon is unsettling, it can be a plus when the company is on the right side of a controversy. With the legalisation of marijuana, Amazon appears to have finally come around to the right side of the debate.
A firm of Amazon’s size no longer tests employees for marijuana and supports federal marijuana legalisation is a clear victory for marijuana policy proponents. Their new, more progressive policies will continue to persuade society to accept marijuana legalisation as a moral imperative. The new standards will ensure that Amazon employees don’t have to worry about losing their jobs if they use marijuana. The nearly 800,000 U.S. employees whose employment are shielded from cannabis-related penalty will benefit greatly from this decision, however drivers and other employees regulated by the Department of Transportation will still be tested.
Of course, the shift in Amazon marijuana policy will have a significant cultural and political impact. It will also have far-reaching implications in the business sector. Because Amazon is supportive of marijuana legalisation and has stopped retaliating against employees who use cannabis recreationally or medicinally, other businesses will be forced to reconsider their own policies.
Will the Amazon’s Change in Marijuana Policy Affect Legalization?
Though Amazon’s declaration represents a significant shift in how the United States views marijuana policy from a corporate perspective, it does not guarantee that the MORE Act or any other form of federal legalisation will pass. The federal government has yet to make a real attempt to enact a bipartisan federal marijuana legalisation measure like the MORE Act, but with Amazon’s support, federal legalisation may be closer than it has ever been.