Amazon recognizes that an increasing number of states are moving to some level of cannabis legalization which makes it difficult to implement an equitable, consistent and national pre-employment marijuana testing program.
Amazon disclosed on Tuesday that its earlier decision to end drug testing for cannabis will be retroactive, meaning former workers and applicants who were punished or rejected for testing positive for THC will have their employment eligibility restored, reported various news outlets.
Amazon also announced on Tuesday that it is lobbying Congress in favor of legalizing cannabis at the federal level in part to promote equitable hiring practices.
In a Tuesday blog post, Beth Galetti, Amazon’s senior vice president of human resources, said that the firm has “reinstated the employment eligibility for former employees and applicants who were previously terminated or deferred during random or pre-employment marijuana screenings.”
According to Galetti’s post, Amazon recognizes that an increasing number of states are moving to some level of cannabis legalization which makes it difficult to implement an equitable, consistent and national pre-employment marijuana testing program. Publicly available national data indicates that pre-employment marijuana testing disproportionately impacts people of color and acts as a barrier to employment.
“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” stated Galetti.
In June, the company came out in support of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021(MORE Act) and announced that it will stop testing for cannabis use in most positions. In September, Amazon began asking its delivery partners to stop screening applicants for marijuana use in an effort to address the shortage of the company’s delivery drivers though the company will continue to have zero tolerance for working while impaired.
Steven Hawkins, CEO of the U. S. Cannabis Council, pointed out that when a drug-testing policy that affects over a million Americans gets changed, it’s a signal.
Amazon is not alone in its removal of cannabis screening. From the corporate world to professional athletics, major organizations are significantly retooling—or removing altogether—testing or sanctions for cannabis, Hawkins told Benzinga.
“The unprecedented labor shortage is making it difficult for employers to find workers to fill those jobs and employers that meet the moment with smart, modern hiring policies stand to gain the most,” Hawkins added.