Amazon Actively Lobbying For U.S. Cannabis Reform
According to a new announcement, the corporate behemoth backs key legislation and more.
In June Amazon stirred the pot of cannabis reform by announcing that it would no longer screen employees for marijuana use. Soon after, the mega-company encouraged business affiliates, i.e. delivery partners to do the same. The company also reinstated anyone who was previously terminated or deferred for employment due to random marijuana screenings.
The goal, according to a recent blog post from Amazon’s senior vice president of human resources Beth Galetti, is to create a more equitable environment for employees. Since testing for weed disproportionately impacts people of color, according to national data, by eliminating pre-employment screening, the company hopes to offer more opportunities to a broader pool of applicants. And this, by extension, will help economic growth in communities impacted by outdated war on drug laws.
“That’s why we strongly believe the time has come to reform the nation’s cannabis policy, and we are committed to helping lead the effort,” says Galetti.
Lobbying for weed
Because an increasing number of states are moving to some level of cannabis legalization, Amazon is officially lobbying to legalize weed at the federal level in the U.S.
It supports two key pieces of legislation — The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act), and the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. The former would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, erase criminal records for nonviolent marijuana-related convictions, and pump billions into local economies. Introduced by prominent Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Shumer, as well as Sens. Cory Booker and Ron Wyden, the latter also seeks to legalize and regulate weed, as well as provide funds to states to help expunge state-level cannabis-related criminal convictions.
“We are enthused by the notable momentum in the country toward recognizing that today’s status quo is unfair and untenable,” Galetti writes in the blog post. “We look forward to working with Congress and other supporters to secure necessary reform of the nation’s cannabis laws.”
The industry is on board
This comes as a surprise to no one in the industry. Although 36 states now allow some cannabis use, including 18 states plus Washington D.C. legalizing recreational adult use, and a majority of voters back federal legalization, cannabis reform has somewhat stalled with the Biden administration.
With a worldwide company as big as Amazon backing key legislation, perhaps it could move the needle a bit.
“I'm quite disappointed that we've really seen no movement whatsoever at the federal level,” Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, told Politico in July. “I think that if Amazon were able to lend its political support to federal reform and fund state-level efforts, that would be a net positive for the cannabis reform movement in this country.”
This latest announcement could just be another baby step for Amazon as it primes to jump into the weed-selling game. But it’s a giant step for the industry itself.