Amazon Wants Former Employees Fired for Weed to Reapply As It Lobbies for Legalization
Amazon is doing what it can to appear as a 420-friendly business now that Jeff Bezos is lobbying the US government for federal weed legalization.
Published on September 22, 2021

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Amazon is continuing its efforts to lobby Congress for federal cannabis legalization, while further expanding employment eligibility to people who choose to get high off the clock. 

Back in June, Amazon surprised the world by announcing that it supported the growing movement to legalize cannabis on both state and federal levels. The mega-corporation has since stopped testing most job applicants for cannabis, and will no longer check for THC during random employee drug screenings. The only exceptions to the new drug screening rules are truck drivers and heavy equipment operators, who must be tested for pot to comply with federal law.

Before its sudden policy shift in June, the company aggressively fired any employee who tested positive for pot and was eventually sued for terminating employees who legally used medical marijuana. This week, the company announced that it is reinstating employment eligibility for any former employee that was fired for failing a pot test. Job applicants who had been denied employment over their cannabis use are also now eligible to apply again.

“Pre-employment marijuana testing has disproportionately affected communities of color by stalling job placement and, by extension, economic growth, and we believe this inequitable treatment is unacceptable,” said Amazon HR head Beth Galetti, according to CNBC. “Amazon’s pace of growth means that we are always looking to hire great new team members, and we’ve found that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows us to expand our applicant pool.”

Earlier this month, Amazon also began urging its delivery partners to stop testing their own employees for weed. In a memo, the company claimed that partner companies could increase their incoming job application rates by 400 percent by openly advertising that they don't test employees for weed. Some of these companies, which are contracted by Amazon to deliver the products to customers, have refused to end cannabis testing over concerns about losing their insurance, though.

Amazon is also continuing its efforts to encourage the feds to finally end the senseless prohibition of cannabis. At the end of June, the shipping giant officially registered as a pro-cannabis lobbyist, and pledged to support the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. This bill, which was passed by the House last fall, would federally deschedule cannabis and clear the criminal records of anyone who had ever been busted for a nonviolent weed offense.

The company is now extending its lobbying efforts to support the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, a new bill drafted by the Senate's Democratic leadership. Like the MORE Act, this bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and expunge former cannabis crimes. Galetti said that Amazon has penned a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to support the bill and allow nonviolent cannabis offenders to have their criminal records wiped clean.

Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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