Amazon announced this week that it supports federal legalization of marijuana and plans to change the drug testing policy of potential employees in the company. Now the question arises as to how many companies will follow suit – especially while many of them are desperate to find new employees. “We hope other employers will join us and that policymakers will act quickly to pass this law,” said the CEO of Amazon’s Global Consumer Division.
The company opened June with the announcement that it will stop testing cannabis during drug tests it performs on jobs that are not supervised by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The company also said it would support the government’s MORE initiative, Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement, a bill that would re-evaluate some cannabis-related convictions.
In an official blog post sent to hundreds of thousands of company employees, reporter Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon’s global consumer division, said that changes in state laws on marijuana have meant that Amazon will no longer include the substance in drug tests.
“In the past, like many employers, we disqualified people from working at Amazon if they were found positive in marijuana testing,” Clark wrote, “but given where state laws are today across the U.S., we have changed course. “We will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive screening program for positions that are not regulated by the Department of Transportation, and will instead treat it as alcohol.”
“The company will continue to conduct tests of alcohol use at work and will also examine whether there was drug use after unusual incidents,” he wrote.
Clark went on to say that Amazon supports the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE). It is still unclear to what extent Amazon will support federal-level cannabis reform efforts, or whether it is planning future business initiatives in the field.
Either way it is quite clear that the very fact that one of the largest employers in the world takes such a public stance can have a huge impact on other organizations.
Amazon skimmers with Wade dishes?
Amazon’s support for congressional legislative initiatives (MORE) and the acceptance that good employees can also be those who smoke cannabis in their spare time or for medical reasons, also seems like paving the way for the Yellow Stones (if we use a metaphor from the Wizard of Oz), so that Amazon itself starts selling Soon cannabis. The idea of Amazon Prime skimmers landing herbal dishes on the front porches of the American suburbs scares not only those who adhere to the continued ban on cannabis consumption and use, but also the plant’s dealers and suppliers today.
The MORE law passed the lower house last year but was buried in the upper house, the Senate. He was recently re-introduced in the House of Representatives, where he is expected to move again. But supporters of cannabis use on Capitol Hill are already looking beyond MORE to Senate Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who has promised in the past (and has promised to do so in the present) to pass and pass a more far-reaching bill for legalization.
A guard’s hand, as the majority leader in the Senate, is on top. His bill is expected to replace MORE but many Republicans are reluctant to give Democrats a “victory” in the Senate. If a guard manages to find a Republican senator who will sponsor the law with him, then his transfer has a reasonable chance. And if such a law does eventually pass, chances are that Amazon will indeed start selling grass, or at least try. Are the small sellers, and suppliers, about to lose their jobs just as Amazon closed bookstores or took over other areas? This probably passes through the minds of quite a few dealers, suppliers, breeding farms and other people in the production chain.
It seems that legalization through the MORE law or Chuck Schumer’s still “secret” bill will probably not create an open and free market for all. The sale and consumption of marijuana is expected to remain under different strict supervision and regulation in each country, similar to laws based on the sale and consumption of alcohol in the US. This, unless the wording in the proposed laws is worded in favor of giant companies like Amazon.
This is exactly where lobbyists, who have a very significant power in the corridors of Washington, will enter. The revolving doors between government and the lobbying industry and their power for lobbyists to change wording for the benefit of their employers is well known. In other words, the big battles of giants such as Amazon are still ahead of them and the small suppliers in the field, there are good reasons today to be afraid of the move.
Countries have become more cannabis friendly
State laws and public opinion have become more cannabis friendly in recent years. More than two-thirds of U.S. states already have legislation on medical cannabis. Of these, 18 approve “leisure use.” A recent Gallup poll from November 2020 found that Americans’ support for cannabis legalization is at an all-time high: 68% support the course – An increase of 2% from 2019 and 4% from 2017, so support stood at 64%, so it is certainly possible to understand what the trend is among the American public.
About half of the countries that have legal medical cannabis also have explicit rules to protect the employment of patients treated for cannabis. New York and Nevada have regulations restricting employers from layoffs because of recreational cannabis use.
Prior to 2017, there were no rulings in favor of cannabis patients in the workplace even in countries that have laws that allow medical use but in recent years the trend has begun to change, Paul Armantano, deputy director of the Cannabis Support Group, told CNN. Courts in states like Arizona, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have supported workers’ rights to use cannabis when they are not working, he said.
Many states and cities are taking a more proactive approach to establishing workplace protections for employees who consume cannabis in their spare time, Armentano said, citing Atlanta as a prime example. There, Mayor Kisha Lance Bottoms issued an order ordering drug tests to be stopped for city employees entering “sensitive jobs that are not related to safety.”
Even the federal government has eased some policies regarding cannabis use by employees, Marijuana Moment magazine reported. Cannabis remains a dangerous level 1 drug, which means it is illegal at the federal level.
Change in workplace testing
Along the way, and even in the absence of state laws on the subject, there are companies that have removed marijuana from their drug tests. With a few exceptions, most of these policy changes at the corporate level have happened quietly.
Last week, UAW union executives in Indiana and Michigan called on General Motors (GM) to stop looking for cannabis in drug tests as one possible solution to the shortage of workers, a local Detroit newspaper owned by USA TODAY reported. “In my 34 years at General Motors, I’ve never seen difficulties like we have today in retaining employees and recruiting new ones,” Rich told Turner, UAW branch manager representing General Motors employees in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The salary scale needs to be improved, he said, adding that he believes the car company needs to seriously consider changes to its drug testing policy in order to attract more workers.
Despite changes in the laws of several states, the discovery of cannabis residues detected in drug tests still constitutes an offense that can be dismissed in many states, including in pioneering states in the field of legalization such as California and Colorado.