Amazon has one of the largest workforces in the entire country, with more and more warehouses and shipping centers popping up in every state as demand for convenient deliveries continues to grow. For years, Amazon’s workers were required to take random drug tests to screen for cannabis use. This cannabis policy has begun to seem outdated recently, especially as many states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Now Amazon has finally adapted by changing its policy and ceasing testing for cannabis use in most workplace roles.
Do Amazon’s changes to its workplace cannabis policy suggest more significant changes on the horizon for federal cannabis law? And what could this mean for the cannabis industry? Keep reading this blog to learn more.
Amazon Will No Longer Test Workers for Marijuana Use
Amazon recently announced that it will be altering its corporate drug testing rules for most of the company’s workers. As a result of the changes, workers in non-transportation roles with Amazon will no longer be screened for marijuana use. This will not only have an impact on people currently working for Amazon, but it will also affect individuals who apply for Amazon jobs since they will no longer be required to pass a drug test before being hired.
There are still a few exceptions to the modified cannabis testing policy at Amazon. For example, the retail giant will still conduct random checks of workers to ensure that no one is impaired by drugs or alcohol while working on the job – especially when impairment could place other workers, or members of the public, at risk of injury. Additionally, Amazon will still conduct drug tests when there is an on-the-job accident.
Amazon Expresses Support for Federal Cannabis Legalization with the MORE Act
While several states, including Alabama, New Mexico, and Virginia, have legalized adult-use cannabis in the aftermath of the 2020 election, the legalization of cannabis at the federal level has not yet happened due to strong opposition from most Republican lawmakers in the U.S. Senate. However, there appears to be momentum for federal legalization efforts, with a majority of the public voicing support for an end to the criminalization of marijuana possession and use.
Amazon has now joined the chorus of people, businesses, and other institutions that are calling for legalization. In addition to changing its employee drug testing policies, the business behemoth has publicly expressed support for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021. That proposed legislation, also known as the MORE Act, was recently reintroduced for consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and remove marijuana from the list of federally banned substances. Beyond that, the proposed law would potentially allow individuals currently serving prison sentences for cannabis offenses to be resentenced.
After Amazon issued an official announcement about its support for the MORE Act, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) issued a statement for the non-profit advocacy group. Paul Armentano, speaking on behalf of NORML, said that drug screenings of applicants for employment are a “discriminatory” remnant of the past that have no place in a country where marijuana is now legal for either recreational or medical use almost everywhere.
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