On Tuesday, Amazon announced that they would be updating their drug testing policy, and will no longer be including marijuana as part of their drug screening programs. In addition, the Big Tech giant stated that they would “actively” support the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act), which would legalize marijuana at the federal level and expunge criminal records.
“In addition to changing our Time off Task policy, we’re adjusting our drug testing policy. In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use,” Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer CEO, Dave Clark, announced in a blog post. “However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course. 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.”
“And because we know that this issue is bigger than Amazon, our public policy team will be actively supporting The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act) — federal legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge criminal records, and invest in impacted communities,” Clark added. “We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law.”
The MORE act was introduced in the House last month, Fortune explains, and “proposes making recreational marijuana use legal in the United States on a federal (rather than state) level, and releasing people who were jailed on non-violent marijuana-related offenses.”
The ACLU is also pushing the MORE act, tweeting, “Black people continue to be disproportionately affected by existing drug laws today,” and claiming “The MORE Act can change that.”
Black people continue to be disproportionately affected by existing drug laws today.
The MORE Act can change that. https://t.co/j2QIj4rMum
— ACLU (@ACLU) June 1, 2021
Responding to Amazon’s announcement, Matt Sutton, Director of Media Relations at the Drug Policy Alliance, provided a statement from the Executive Director of the New York City-based non-profit organization, Kassandra Frederique.
“As the United States’ second largest private employer, Amazon committing to no longer test those of its 1.3 million employees not regulated by DOT for marijuana — and publicly supporting the MORE Act — is a huge step forward in eliminating one of the main ways the drug war has robbed so many of their livelihoods,” said Frederique. “Drug testing has never provided an accurate indication of a person’s ability to perform their job, and yet this incredibly invasive practice has locked out millions of people who use drugs — both licit and illicit — from the workplace.”
Frederique continued to “implore Amazon and other employers to let this be the starting point and not the goal post,” and that this move can be a “catalyst to a much larger move,” with the ending of “drug testing for all drugs.” According to the Executive Director, this “would ensure a more just and equitable future for millions of people, especially Black, Brown and Indigenous communities who have been disproportionately impacted by these policies.
The statement concluded by urging the House of Representatives to “swiftly pass the MORE Act absent of a harmful provision that was added to exclude federal workers of drug testing protections.”
A Gallup poll in October 2020 indicated that “68 percent of Americans said the use of marijuana should be legal, the highest support for marijuana legalization since the polling organization first asked in 1969,” as reported by The Washington Post.
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