In June 2021, Amazon announced that it would exclude marijuana from its comprehensive pre-employment drug screening program for unregulated positions (e.g., positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation), and those not within Amazon Air. The company also reinstated the employment eligibility for former employees and applicants who were previously terminated or deferred during random or pre-employment marijuana screenings.
These changes were made for several reasons. First, Amazon recognized that an increasing number of states are moving to some level of cannabis legalization—making it difficult to implement an equitable, consistent, and national pre-employment marijuana testing program. Second, publicly available national data indicates that pre-employment marijuana testing disproportionately impacts people of color and acts as a barrier to employment. And third, Amazon’s pace of growth means that the company is always looking to hire great new team members, and it has found that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows it to expand its applicant pool.
In addition to these changes, Amazon has also been a vocal supporter of federal cannabis reform. In 2021, the company announced its support for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act) and the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. Most recently, Amazon endorsed the States Reform Act, a Republican-led bill offering comprehensive reform.
Amazon’s support for cannabis reform is a sign of the growing momentum behind this issue. As more states legalize cannabis, and as more businesses recognize the benefits of a more inclusive workforce, the pressure on the federal government to reform its cannabis policies will only continue to grow.
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