On September 21, 2021, Amazon announced that the company would relax its screening policies for marijuana to advocate for more equitable workplaces. Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources also announced that the global conglomerate is proud to endorse recent federal legislation in the blog post. Seemingly a continuation of its previous statements concerning the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (the “MORE Act”), Amazon resumes its support for marijuana reform. Read below to learn more about Amazon’s statements and their recent history and stances on marijuana legislation.
Pre-Employment Screening Statements
In June of 2021, Amazon announced its new drug testing policies. Notably, Amazon pledged to stop pre-employment marijuana screening for employees not regulated by the Department of Transportation. The only screening conducted on employees not regulated by the Department of Transportation will be upon reasonable suspicion of impairment during work hours and after workplace accidents.
As Amazon aims to be “Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work” after receiving scrutiny over its working conditions, Amazon amended its drug testing policies. Recognizing that data indicates pre-employment marijuana testing disproportionately impacts people of color, Amazon continues to relax its screening processes. In its most recent announcement, Amazon reinstated the employment eligibility of those affected by their previous drug policies. The Senior Vice President of Human Resources assured the following, “[w]e also reinstated the employment eligibility for former employees and applicants who were previously terminated or deferred during random or pre-employment marijuana screenings.”
Amazon’s Stance on Recent Legislation
Amazon’s June statement regarding its more relaxed pre-employment marijuana screening processes also expressed support for the MORE Act. In the blog, Dave Clark, Amazon’s CEO Worldwide Consumer, stated that Amazon applauded the bill’s intent to invest in communities disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition, reduce criminal penalties for marijuana-related offenses, and expunge the criminal records of those affected by marijuana prohibition.
Amazon began actively lobbying on the MORE Act shortly after its announcement. Amazon’s most recent statement also endorses the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act drafted by majority leader Chuck Schumer in July of 2021. While the global conglomerate refrained from commenting on areas such as regulation, permitting, taxation, and interstate commerce, Amazon released a statement of support for the social justice initiatives proposed by the bill. In a letter addressed to the senators who drafted the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, Amazon stated the following:
We believe the time has come for reform of the nation’s cannabis policy and we are committed to helping lead the effort. Given our support for legalizing cannabis at the federal level, expunging certain criminal records, and investing in impacted businesses and communities, Amazon recently announced our support for, and began actively lobbying on, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act). As your bill would achieve similar objectives, we are pleased to endorse the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act as currently drafted.
Chelsie Spencer is a marijuana attorney in Dallas, Texas, who specializes in cannabis and hemp law. As an attorney deeply involved in the legal marijuana community, she provides legal representation to several hemp, CBD, and cannabis businesses. Chelsie is a trusted advisor in several fields due to her vast knowledge in commercial litigation, copyright law, and more. Contact Ritter Spencer or give us a call at 214.295.5070 for more information.