Amazon is ramping up its pro-weed campaign, announcing on Tuesday that it is actively lobbying for legislative reforms aimed at decriminalization and reaffirming its commitment to not screening job applicants for cannabis.
Beth Galetti, Amazon’s senior vice president of human resources, declared in a blog post the company’s support for two pieces of legislation aimed at decriminalizing cannabis nationwide. The move comes amid expanding legalization at the state level, with 36 states allowing some level of public access to cannabis and 18 states plus Washington, DC, legalizing recreational adult use.
The first is the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act), introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, which would remove cannabis from the federal government’s list of controlled substances, effectively decriminalizing it at the federal level. The bill also seeks to create new investment programs for communities that have been disproportionately affected by cannabis-related incarceration and policing, while also seeking to expunge relevant criminal records. The bill was previously introduced and passed the House last year in a historic vote before ultimately stalling in the then Republican-controlled Senate. Nadler reintroduced the bill in May, adding some modifications.
The other proposed law that Amazon is supporting is the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act—a bill introduced by prominent Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as Sens. Cory Booker and Ron Wyden. The legislation would similarly seek to legalize and regulate weed, while also providing funds to state governments to be used in expunging criminal records related to cannabis-related convictions at the state level.
Amazon, which employs 950,000 people in the U.S., said that it supports these proposed bills for a number of reasons—one of which is the untenable patchwork of state laws and fact that pre-employment testing for cannabis “disproportionately impacts people of color.” The company also noted that its continual pursuit of “great new team members” means that getting rid of pre-employment testing for cannabis allows them to hire from a larger pool of people.
“We are enthused by the notable momentum in the country toward recognizing that today’s status quo is unfair and untenable. We look forward to working with Congress and other supporters to secure necessary reform of the nation’s cannabis laws,” Galetti wrote.
Amazon’s stance on cannabis use among its ranks began to change at least a few months ago. In June, reports emerged that the company was ditching its pre-employment testing for the intoxicating plant for positions (with the exception of those regulated by the Department of Transportation, such as truck drivers and positions that require heavy machinery operation), while also encouraging the contract delivery companies that operate its fleet of blue vans to make it known that they wouldn’t screen for weed.
This is an interesting turn for Amazon—which has proven itself to be a terrible employer in many other ways. On that note, it’s also worth remembering that everybody—from Elon Musk to the unfortunate ex-governor of New York—knows that acting okay with weed is a surefire way to make yourself look cool and engender goodwill since most people know that prohibitions on it are just regressive draconian bullshit.
We reached out to Amazon for comment on its recent endorsement of this legislation. We also inquired as to whether the company plans on investing in any cannabis-related business ventures in the future. We will update this story if they respond.