Jun 1, 2021 - Economy

Amazon backs federal marijuana legalization bill, changes drug testing policy

Photo of the Amazon logo on a sign.

Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

Amazon's worldwide consumer CEO Dave Clark announced in a blog post Tuesday that the company has endorsed a federal bill to legalize marijuana and will no longer screen certain workers for the drug.

Why it matters: Amazon is the second-largest private employer in the U.S. behind Walmart. Its drug policy change use may nudge other employers into adopting similar policies.

What they're saying: "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," Clark wrote.

  • "And because we know that this issue is bigger than Amazon, our public policy team will be actively supporting The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act) — federal legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge criminal records, and invest in impacted communities," he added.

The company will still screen workers in positions regulated by the Department of Transportation, such as drivers, for the drug and will treat it the same as alcohol use.

  • "We will continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for all drugs and alcohol after any incident," Clark said.

The big picture: Multiple states, including New York, have legalized marijuana this year.

  • However, any federal legalization bill will need a minimum of 10 Senate Republican supporters to pass through the normal legislative process during this Congress.

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