In a public statement issued Tuesday, representatives of the Amazon corporation offered additional clarification regarding its rollback of marijuana-related drug screening in the workplace as well as its support for draft legislation offered by Senators Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden to repeal federal marijuana criminalization. The company initially announced changes to its marijuana-related policies in June.
A blog post by HR Director Beth Galetti reaffirms that the company will no longer include pre-employment screenings for marijuana use among new hires, except for those in federally regulated positions (that mandate drug testing). The company further announced that it has “reinstated eligibility for former employees and applicants who were previously terminated or deferred during random or pre-employment marijuana screenings.”
Commenting on Amazon’s announcement, NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal said: “This is a welcome showing of support from America’s second largest private employer. Nearly 50 percent of the US population now live in jurisdictions where marijuana is legal, yet in many industries, adults’ off-the-job consumption of cannabis can result in them being unduly discriminated against and sanctioned by their employers.”
Strekal added, “It is NORML’s hope that more companies will follow suit in the coming weeks and months and that more politicians continue to support legislative action to protect employees who reside in legal cannabis states.”
The company’s revisions to its drug testing policies are in response to marijuana’s rapidly changing legal status under state law. Additionally, the company cited “national data [indicating that] pre-employment marijuana testing disproportionately impacts people of color and acts as a barrier to employment.”
Several states – Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Montana – limit employers’ ability to pre-screen applicants for past marijuana use, as do a growing number of municipalities, including Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.
The company also reiterated its support for pending federal legislation to repeal marijuana prohibition, including the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act and the recently drafted Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.
“We support removing cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act. Doing so will open significant new economic opportunities for millions of capable individuals while beginning to restore some of the damage done to highly affected communities,” Brian Huseman, Vice President of Public Policy at Amazon recently wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders. “We also believe Congress should act to expunge federal non-violent marijuana crimes and allow for resentencing of any individual currently in federal prison for such a crime, while taking steps to encourage states to do the same.”
Additional information on the MORE Act and on the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act is available from NORML’s ‘Take Action Center.’ Additional information is available from NORML’s fact sheet, ‘Marijuana Legalization and Impact on the Workplace.’