Amazon backs legislation to legalize marijuana


Amazon on Tuesday announced its support for legislation that seeks to legalize marijuana at the federal level and said it will stop screening certain workers for use of the drug. 

Dave Clark, head of the multinational company’s consumer business, said in a statement that Amazon’s public policy team will be actively supporting the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2021.

The measure, which was passed by the House late last year and reintroduced in the chamber days back, would legalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge some marijuana convictions for nonviolent criminals and invest in impacted communities.

“We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law,” Clark said in the statement.

Clark also said the company will be adjusting its drug testing policy to “no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation.”

He said it will treat workers’ use of the drug “the same as alcohol use” and will “continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for all drugs and alcohol after any incident.”

“In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use. However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course,” he added. 

The move comes as a number of states have greenlighted legislation in recent years legalizing and regulating the use and possession of marijuana, including New York and New Jersey earlier this year.

Last August, more than 50 current and former law enforcement professionals signed on to a letter urging Congress to take swift action on the MORE Act.

The letter, which was signed by dozens of current and former prosecutors, judges, and police officers, provided a number of reasons the legislation should be passed, branding the measure as a chance “to repair and strengthen the relationships between us and the people we serve.”

It also argued that “resources used to enforce marijuana law violations could be shifted and used to more effectively tackle serious and violent crimes,” pointing to a past analysis from the American Civil Liberties Union showing that more than 7 million people in the country were arrested for possession between 2001 and 2010.

That same analysis also showed that, despite Black and white people in the U.S. using marijuana at roughly the same rates at the time, Black people were almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.

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