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Amazon Will Stop Testing Employees for Weed

The company also supports decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This week, Amazon delivered some major marijuana news.

Recognizing the increase in adult-use states, the mega-company announced changes to its drug testing policy, saying it will now treat marijuana like alcohol and not screen employees for using it.

“In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use,” per the announcement. “However, given where the state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course.”

There are some exceptions to the policy: Any positions regulated by the Department of Transportation, such as delivery truck drivers, don't get a pass.

Related: Philadelphia Bans Marijuana Drug Tests for Employment Screening (with Exceptions)

Supporting Federal Marijuana Legislation

The company is also throwing its public support behind The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act), which decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level, erases criminal records for nonviolent marijuana-related convictions, and pump billions into local economies. 

The House approved the MORE Act in the previous congressional session, but a companion bill, introduced by then-Sen. Kamala Harris, stalled in the Senate. Another piece of legislation waiting in the wings, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, was sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

“We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law,” Dave Clark, CEO of the company’s Worldwide Consumer division, said in the post.

Related: The MORE Act Would Reduce Prison Time and Pump Billions into the Federal Budget, Says the Congressional Budget Office

Others See Huge Step to Decriminalization

It’s a big move by the second largest employer in the country. A smart one, too. States like Washington (home to Amazon’s West Coast operations, Virginia (home to its soon-to-be East Coast headquarters), and New York, have already legalized marijuana for recreational use.

The Drug Policy Alliance told NPR that the announcement is a big leap forward for decriminalization at the federal level. “Drug testing has never provided an accurate indication of a person’s ability to perform their job, and yet this incredibly invasive practice has locked out millions of people who use drugs — both licit and illicit — from the workplace.”

Steve Allan, CEO of The Parent Company, the largest vertically integrated cannabis company in California, agrees that this is a “watershed moment” for federal marijuana laws, criminal justice reform, and social equity. 

“Amazon’s announcement that it will no longer screen job applicants and employees for cannabis use sets a robust precedent that has the potential to reshape hiring practices across the country,” Allan said in a statement on Twitter.

He adds that a company as big as Amazon supporting the MORE Act will hopefully have a huge impact on getting the bill finalized and passed. “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.”