Amazon, the multinational technology company, has announced support for the federal legalization of cannabis via a blog post by Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon’s worldwide consumer division. Clark said that the shifting legal status of the herb had influenced Amazon to change some of its hiring policies regarding cannabis. According to reports, Amazon will stop screening for cannabis in pre-employment drug tests, and cannabis use will be treated the same as alcohol. However, jobs that are subject to U.S. Department of Transportation regulations will still see employees screened for cannabis, and Amazon will continue its policy of impairment checks on the job. Employees involved in accidents will still be tested for drugs and alcohol.
Amazon has expressed support for HR 3716: The MORE Act — the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act — which would create an Office of Cannabis Justice that would enforce the social equity components of the law. The MORE would remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances, ending the criminalization of cannabis for adults in America, and the effects of the law would be retroactive.
Americans with criminal convictions would have them automatically expunged from their records at no cost under the legislation. The MORE Act would place a 5% tax upon cannabis retail sales that will be allocated to the Opportunity Trust Fund, increasing to 8 % after three years. Also, the legislation would make it a federal crime to discriminate against anyone because of their cannabis use, including earned benefits, and the MORE Act would cover immigrants at risk of deportation.
Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said in a statement released shortly after Amazon’s announcement:
“Public support for HR 3716: The MORE Act is growing day by day. Seven in ten U.S. voters say that the adult use of cannabis ought to be legal. It is time for Congress to repeal the federal prohibition of marijuana and to allow states the freedom to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies consistent with the wishes of the majority of their voters and free from the threat of undue federal interference.”
Advocates suggest that the lobbying influence of the world’s largest retailer could have significant impacts upon U.S. cannabis policy.
Vivian McPeak is a Seattle based social justice activist, media personality, and writer. Vivian is the president of Seattle Events, a Non-Profit Organization, producer of the Seattle HEMPFEST®, the world’s largest annual cannabis policy reform rally. The recipient of the High Times Magazine 2012 Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award and DOPE Magazine 2016 Emery Award for lifetime achievement, and in 2016 he was named one of the “50 Most Influential People” by Seattle Magazine. Vivian has appeared on numerous television and cable news networks, including FOX News, CNN, & NBC. McPeak is the host of Hempresent, a weekly radio podcast on Cannabis Radio with listeners on multiple continents.