Amazon advises against marijuana screening in bid to recruit drivers: report

Amazon advises against marijuana screening in bid to recruit drivers: report
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Amazon is asking its delivery partners to openly advertise that they don’t screen applicants for marijuana use in an effort to address the shortage of delivery drivers, according to Bloomberg.

The e-commerce giant is urging its delivery contractors and partners to halt testing for marijuana use, saying the move can boost job applications by as much as 400 percent, the news outlet noted. Amazon added that screening for marijuana use reduces prospective applicants by up to 30 percent. 

While some delivery companies abided by the advisory, saying they felt the screening was the main reason for the driver shortage, others are choosing to continue screening applicants, citing insurance and liability implications.

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“If one of my drivers crashes and kills someone and tests positive for marijuana, that’s my problem, not Amazon’s,” one company owner told Bloomberg anonymously due to Amazon discouraging partners from talking to the media.

Companies choosing not to screen applicants for the marijuana, which is now legal in many states, are still screening for other drugs like opiates and amphetamines. One company told Bloomberg more drivers pass these screenings.

Amazon's advice to counter its driver shortage is consistent with other internal policies around marijuana use, and its advocacy for marijuana legalization.

The company first announced in June that it would no longer screen employees for marijuana — apart from positions regulated by the Department of Transportation — as testing has disproportionately affected communities of color. Now, it is urging other companies to do the same. The company also lobbies the federal government to legalize the drug.

However, Amazon says it has zero tolerance for working while impaired and will treat workers’ use of marijuana “the same as alcohol use.”

“If a delivery associate is impaired at work and tests positive post-accident or due to reasonable suspicion, that person would no longer be permitted to perform services for Amazon,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.

The move comes as employers continue to offer hiring incentives in the post-COVID-19 employment market, including wage raises, college scholarships and even gifts.