Over the summer, Amazon came out in favor of federal marijuana legalization. The company also said that it would no longer drug test job applicants that aren’t regulated by the Department of Transportation.
Over the past three years, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has made it her mission to drive Amazon out of Seattle and ruin the hundreds of mom and pop businesses supported by the company’s employees, including local cannabis retailers. Despite the attacks on the company, its headquarters, and even its employees, Amazon continues to embrace progressive policies. The company recently stopped drug testing applicants for marijuana and actively promotes itself as a cannabis-friendly workplace. The retail giant is now calling on its contracted delivery services to stop screening all drivers for cannabis.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, Amazon sent word to its delivery services this week, urging them to no longer test applicants for marijuana. It’s a strategy that Amazon believes will boost driver applications by as much as 400%, the news source asserts, putting an end to the driver shortage before the holiday season kicks into high gear in the next two months. Many delivery companies went along with the policy change, while others aren’t into it.
“If one of my drivers crashes and kills someone and tests positive for marijuana, that’s my problem, not Amazon’s,” said one anonymous delivery service executive. Everyone doing business with Amazon is reportedly keeping their mouths shuts because the company has urged them not to discuss the situation with the media, which is strange considering its overall position on pot.
Over the summer, Amazon came out in favor of federal marijuana legalization. The company also said that it would no longer drug test job applicants that aren’t regulated by the Department of Transportation. “In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use,” wrote Dave Clark, CEO, Worldwide Consumer. “However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course.”
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But now, Amazon wants to see its associate companies make similar changes. Of course, the directive only applies to drug testing for marijuana. Delivery services are still required to test potential employees for hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. They just want these operations to take a step back on the marijuana issue, considering it is now legal in half the nation. However, like alcohol, this doesn’t mean that drivers can come to work high or get stoned on the job.
“If a delivery associate is impaired at work and tests positive post-accident or due to reasonable suspicion, that person would no longer be permitted to perform services for Amazon,” a company spokesperson said.
Amazon, headquartered in Seattle, Washington, is now on a mad hiring spree. The company is looking to fill some 55,000 open corporate and tech positions across the globe. In the U.S., it needs to fill 40,000 jobs to meet the demand of their customers.
There are valid concerns Amazon plans to reduce their Seattle footprint over Sawant’s ongoing attacks, the city’s high crime rate, and its paralyzed government. Cannabis friendly Amazon was among local companies shocked by efforts spearheaded by Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant and Lorena Gonzales that lead to the popular police chief, Carmen Diaz, resigning despite her efforts to rein in crime and chaos during the chaotic summer of 2020. Seattle had part of a popular neighborhood overtake and declare independent. During the weeks long occupation, the City Council supported closing the police station and allowed attacks on the neighborhood and local businesses.
During the recession, Amazon, along with Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market, provided rent relief to their tenants to help them weather the lockdown. In addition, Amazon provided grants to mom and pop neighborhood businesses to help keep them afloat. Amazon posted more than 12,000 positions available in the Puget Sound region with neighboring city Bellevue benefiting from Sawant’s anti-job policies.
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Sawant has been ordered to pay a fine of more than $3,000 to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) for using city funds to illegally support her Tax Amazon Initiative. She was charged last year with using city resources to promote her efforts to damage the regional economic stability.
Sawant is accused of violating COVID protocols last summer when she led a gang of hundreds inside Seattle’s locked-down city hall. She used the BLM movement to support her ongoing attacks on Amazon with Moe’Neyah Dene Holland, a protester who followed Sawant, commenting, “I want to tax Amazon too, but can we please for once focus on Black lives?” The statement drew applause from the audience and highlighted Sawant’s focus on damaging one of the regions key employers instead of the left’s positions.
Sawant’s focus against the retailer comes at the expense of progressive policies including cannabis legalization small businesses. Data released in April 2021 revealed 68% of employees at Amazon US are non-white. There is now a campaign to recall Sawant — something the Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled can proceed and is gaining steam.
It seems in Seattle, talk of progressive policies doesn’t always equal action.