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Amazon will lobby government to legalize marijuana


Photographer: Thorsten Wagner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Amazon is further relaxing its screening policies for marijuana, as it ramps up support for federal legislation to legalize the drug.

In a blog post Tuesday, Amazon HR boss Beth Galetti wrote that the company has “reinstated employment eligibility” for former employees and applicants who were fired or deferred during random or pre-employment marijuana screenings.

Galetti explained that “pre-employment cannabis testing has disproportionately impacted communities of color by stopping job placements and, consequently, economic growth. We believe this inequitable treatment to be unacceptable.”

Amazon first announced in June that it would no longer screen some of its workers for marijuana. Amazon won’t screen any job applicants who are applying to positions that require them, like truck drivers or heavy equipment operators.

Amazon said that they will conduct job impairment checks and test any incidents for alcohol and drugs.

Galetti explained that Amazon relaxed its standards for marijuana after realizing the legalization of cannabis in more U.S. states. Galetti said that the company realized it would be easier to attract more applicants for jobs in a tighter labor market.

Galetti explained that Amazon is growing at a rapid pace and it’s always on the lookout for great people to join its team. He also said that eliminating preemployment testing for marijuana allows him to broaden his applicant pool.

Amazon, which has been on a hiring spree since the onset of the pandemic, has dangled a number of incentives in front of job applicants, such as hiring bonuses and free college tuition. In a further push to recruit workers, Amazon has been encouraging its network of contracted delivery firms to prominently advertise they don’t screen for marijuana use, according to Bloomberg.

Amazon also advocates for marijuana legalization. In June, Amazon stated that it supported the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. This bill aims to legalize marijuana at the federal level and expunge all criminal records. It also aims for investments in impacted areas.

Galetti claimed that Amazon has recently signed a similar bill known as the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. Amazon wrote to Congress this month urging them to remove federal nonviolent cannabis crimes from the statute and permit resentence for anyone who has been in federal prison for such crimes.