While I do my best to support small, locally-owned businesses (one of the many reasons that the Oregon cannabis community should shop at Kind Leaf, Pendleton’s premier craft cannabis boutique), it’s no secret that corporate giants exert a huge amount of influence in our political system. While we many of us may have our own personal criticisms of Amazon, it is good to see the business behemoth get on the right side of history and support cannabis legalization. The online powerhouse made major waves when it initially announced that it would stop testing (most) employees for cannabis and support federal policy changes, and it has reaffirmed its commitment to the cause by reinstating the eligibility of those previously denied employment for past positive drug tests, according to a new company blog post:
“We made these changes for a few reasons. First, we recognized that an increasing number of states are moving to some level of cannabis legalization—making it difficult to implement an equitable, consistent, and national pre-employment marijuana testing program. Second, publicly available national data indicates that pre-employment marijuana testing disproportionately impacts people of color and acts as a barrier to employment. And third, Amazon’s pace of growth means that we are always looking to hire great new team members, and we’ve found that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows us to expand our applicant pool.
“Given our previous support for legalizing cannabis at the federal level, as well as expunging certain criminal records and investing in impacted businesses and communities, Amazon recently announced our support for, and began actively lobbying on, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act). We are also pleased to endorse the recently introduced Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act; read our comments on that legislation.
“Pre-employment marijuana testing has disproportionately affected communities of color by stalling job placement and, by extension, economic growth, and we believe this inequitable treatment is unacceptable. As we shared earlier this year, we aim to become Earth’s Best Employer, and as part of that journey, we know that our local communities and future generations need us to be better every day—thus the creation of our new Leadership Principle, Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility. Together, these principles speak to our responsibility to effect change and are our impetus for both driving for societal change and maintaining the right internal policies to ensure a great workplace with equitable and consistent hiring practices for all candidates. That’s why we strongly believe the time has come to reform the nation’s cannabis policy, and we are committed to helping lead the effort.”
Politics often make strange bedfellows, so I personally welcome Amazon and any other business that wants to use its power to end the failed and harmful policy of cannabis prohibition. While we always must remain vigilant to ensure that small businesses don’t get completely trampled, starting with our own personal decisions, but also in advocating for regulations that don’t completely squeeze out the mom-and-pops, we can welcome new advocates into our movement for freedom. The days of Reefer Madness prohibition are clearly numbered, but we must continue to work hard to legalize it right.
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