The United States saw a massive increase in the use of cannabis-derived products throughout 2020. Before, job seekers would be afraid of minimal employment prospects due to the cannabinoids in their systems detected during drug testing. Fortunately, it seems that Amazon has done away with this fear for good.
Amazon’s removal of marijuana drug testing helps job seekers
Amazon has reinforced its status as a trailblazing digital retail platform, not because of what it offers customers, but a new perk for employees in the workplace. The seemingly omnipresent organization announced on Tuesday that it would no longer screen prospective employees for marijuana use.
This could be a game-changer in the job market, as Amazon is one of the largest employers in the United States. The company is responsible for providing 1,298,000 full- and part-time jobs in 2020, with expectations for continued exponential growth. It outnumbers prominent companies like Google and eBay.
This eases the job search burden on the 20.5 million people who lost their income by this time last year. In a practical sense, Amazon’s decision to lift drug restrictions in the workplace like this catalyze the growth of America’s workforce. However, concerning more individual benefits, this can open up the opportunity for cannabis users to once again use products derived from this controversial plant without fear.
Amazon’s statement on ending marijuana drug testing policy
On June 1, 2021, Amazon’s CEO Dave Clark finally took action on something the cannabis community has been demanding for years in the context of corporate workspaces and beyond. In the release, Clark states,
“We will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation, and will instead 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.”
Before this, the CEO took a moment to acknowledge the damage that Amazon had previously done by rejecting qualifying job candidates “if they tested positive for marijuana use.” In recognition of this bias and the corporation’s desire to walk the talk in “actively supporting” the MORE Act of 2021 (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement), they’ve left the outdated drug testing policy in the past.
What you need to know about the MORE Act
The MORE Act of 2021 comes after the 2020 iteration, which didn’t advance in the Senate after being passed in the House of Representatives. The bill was intended to decriminalize marijuana and federally legalize it by eliminating its status as a scheduled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. A few more key legal changes this bill’s enactment would lead to include:
- Replace legal references to cannabis as “marijuana” and “marihuana” with the appropriate scientific name, Cannabis or cannabis (this directly addresses the racial prejudice that fueled initial cannabis prohibition efforts)
- Makes Small Business Administration loans and services available to cannabis professionals
- Prohibit the denial of someone’s access to federal public benefits due to past “certain” cannabis-related charges or convictions
- Offers benefits and protections under immigration laws for those with a past legal “cannabis-related event” on their record
- Introduces a process to expunge cannabis convictions establish sentencing review hearings for cannabis-related offenses on the federal level
This statute is now attached to 2021 since it was reintroduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) on May 28, 2021 after previously passing in the House only in December 2020. The law is apparently a major factor in Amazon’s new commitment to reduced workplace stringency surrounding cannabis use.
Cannabis has increasingly become a staple substance in households across the US, whether it’s in the form of healthy superfoods or recreational concentrates.
Although the job market has discriminated against cannabis users in the past, retail giants like Amazon seem to finally understand that these ways of thinking are outdated and holding the workforce back. Their recently announced decision to stop marijuana drug testing could change recruitment norms for years to come.