Amazon is lobbying the US government to legalise cannabis

US News

Amazon is lobbying the US government to legalise cannabis and in support of a law that would expunge cannabis-related offences from criminal records, the company has confirmed.

Earlier this year, the e-commerce giant announced that it would be excluding the drug from its pre-employment screening programme, as well as reinstating the eligibility of former employees and applicants who had tested positive.

The company – which is the second largest employer in the US – said there were three key reasons behind the move, including the growing levels of legalisation in many states across America which made screening unfair.

But it also highlighted data that indicated pre-employment testing for cannabis use “disproportionately impacts people of colour”, as well as that by scrapping the screening the company would be expanding its applicant pool and hiring better staff.

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“Historically, criminal marijuana provisions have been unequally enforced upon people of colour, perpetuating a vicious cycle of over-incarceration, poverty, health conditions, and other barriers to employment and economic opportunity,” the company said.

According to a Bloomberg News report, when Amazon began openly advertising that it would not be testing applicants for cannabis use, some positions saw a fourfold increase in applications.

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“We are enthused by the notable momentum in the country toward recognising that today’s status quo is unfair and untenable,” the company said in a blog post.

“We look forward to working with Congress and other supporters to secure necessary reform of the nation’s cannabis laws,” it added, just above a feedback form asking visitors how positive the announcement made them feel towards the company.

The company is lobbying in support of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act) as well as the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.

These would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act and impose taxes on its sale, “beginning to restore some of the damage done to highly affected communities”.

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