Story at a glance
- While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, more and more states are decriminalizing or legalizing the drug.
- Amazon announced that it will no longer include marijuana in their comprehensive drug screening for employees not regulated by the Department of Transportation.
- The company is also throwing its support behind an effort to decriminalize cannabis on a federal level.
While more than a dozen states have fully legalized marijuana, the federal government’s inaction has left a gray area for businesses, individuals and even law enforcement. Now, Seattle-based company Amazon is attempting to straddle that line by no longer testing for marijuana in drug screenings for employees not regulated by the Department of Transportation.
So while delivery drivers and others are still out of luck, Amazon employees can enjoy cannabis like they do alcohol — although not on the clock. The solution appears temporary, however, as the company is also throwing its support behind federal legislation to decriminalize the Schedule 1 drug, which is among the most tightly restricted substances in the country.
“Because we know that this issue is bigger than Amazon, our public policy team will be actively supporting The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act)—federal legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge criminal records, and invest in impacted communities. We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law,” the company said in a blog post.
The MORE Act, as it is abbreviated, was first introduced in 2019 and passed by the House of Representatives last December, but expired at the end of the 116th Congress and was just reintroduced last month. The legislation attempts to correct the harm done, especially to communities of color through the war on drugs, which targeted Black and brown drug users and criminalized addiction.
“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,” said Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement.
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